Saturday, December 05, 2009

Beach Fun

Growing up, we spent a lot of time at the coast. My Grandparents lived there in a darling beach house that was so close the the water, we could walk from their house to the sand in about 5 minutes.
We created so many memories of that little beach town that I think we all felt that we had ownership of it. We knew each little store and restaurant, the names of all the streets, where the steps led down to the sand.

When my Grandparents got too old to live in their home, it had to be sold in order to pay for their care. I know that our treasures are in Heaven, but losing that home was like losing a piece of my heart.

The first time we went back there, I couldn't even get out of the car. I started crying as the freeway exit approached and didn't stop for a full ten minutes. We drove up and down a street or two and when Alif asked if I'd like to get out I told him I just couldn't do it. It was just not the same without my Grandparents to greet us, without the familiar home away from home.
A few years ago my Dad and his wife started a Thanksgiving tradition of renting a home in another small beach community. It was nice to get away and spend time at the beach again. Over the years, though, it's turned into much more than that. It's a healing place. A place we can return to year after year. My kids are starting to know all the little shops. They know which streets lead down to the sand. They run with reckless abandon into the freezing cold water. They look forward to walking down the pier on our last day and then eating at the fish & chips shop nearby.

I know that God cares about our hearts, and I'm so thankful to Him for making a new tradition. It will never be the same as my Grandparents' home, of course, but it's wonderful nonetheless.


  1. {Hug} So hard to let go of a "memory". I mean you'll always have the memories, but I know that sometimes the worst part is knowing that you won't ever be able to make "that memory" again. I loved your reflection and could totally relate to it with the loss of both of my grandmas. I'm so glad that this special trip has become a tradition for your family. It's building those same important memories for your own children...eventhough it feels different to you. :)

  2. When I flipped the calendar to December this year, the childhood memories flooded my mind as never before. Sad, yes; but this time my heart looked back fondly with thanks. Our childhood Christmas Eve's with both sets of grandparents were the funnest memories I have and I am very thankful that I get to look back, remember, and smile. I'm happy that you had all those special years with your Grandparents. It's never the same without them, but sweet memories help.

  3. We have always had a beach Christmas tradition with my grandparents' home too. Traditions are such a way of looking forward and looking back all at once I think. I cannot imagine a year without the beach--not because of the beach, but because it is our family touchstone--a constant in our sea of family changes. Thanks for the reminder. I will be more thankful this year after reading your post.

  4. Your new tradition looks like it's super-fun but I know how sad you must feel at not having 'your' little beach tradition.
    Oh, I want to go off to our family's beach hut now! I think I'll have to wade through some of the bazillion photos I took there the Easter before my great-grandma died and have a little cry.