Saturday, September 20, 2014

Goodbye Summer

Tradition.  I like new experiences, new places.  They're exciting.  Tradition has roots.  One year when I was in middle school, our annual family trip was to New England instead of the familiar stretch of beach in Maryland. When we got home though, my sister and I asked my parents when we were going to go on vacation.  It just wasn't a complete summer without the beach.

This year we introduced the kids to the Ocean City experience. Dillon stopped to play with any ball he could find, whether or not the owner was using it. Claire's feet conveniently hurt halfway through her daily walks on the beach with my dad. At least that's what she told us from her perch atop his shoulders.  They loved running full speed down the boardwalk, only stopping for dogs (Claire) or bikes (Dillon). They loved it. I think it's in their blood.

Jason has come with me every year since we started dating.  The summer he was gone, my parents came with me.  I think we spent more time eating at our favorite places than actually on the beach.  I fill him in on my memories.  Here is where we always get subs.  Here is where we stayed when our friends came with us.  I can't believe my entire high school class all came for the day when we organized it.  This is where I stayed with friends when I was in college...feeling so responsible on our first trip without any parents.  Wow, that was a long time ago... this one time...we always...

Why did you always go here? he asks. It's not exactly the prettiest beach.  There were practical reasons, but I forget.

We plan out where we will go next time.  This spot will be good for when we have kids.  Blurry mental pictures.  Other years we've gone to other beaches but we still squeeze in a day trip to Ocean City.  Because we love the beach so much or just because it's what we do? 

We always underestimate the drive.  We stop at my favorite gas station.  I tell the same story each time. One time when it was just my sister and I we ran out of windshield wiper fluid but were too cheap to pay for more, so I tried to stick my hand out the window and splash water on the salt-covered windshield while traveling 50 mph.  None of the water got on the windshield.  All of it got on my face. 

We get donuts.  We get sand in the car.  It's crowded.  It's full of tacky shops.  Full of memories.  Pictures from the past.  Glimpses of the future.  Tradition carried on until next year.