Sunset walks on the beach.
Playing in the water.
Catching sand crabs after bedtime.
Sand castle building.
Getting pet hermit crabs. Sleeping in late. Salt water taffy. Having (big!) televisions in every bedroom. Getting to eat whenever we wanted. Doing math by the pool. Looking out the top of the ship (we spent a day at the USS Alabama). Playing Breaker Ball (a game they all created).
These are the things my kids shouted out when I asked them what their favorite parts of our week at the beach were.
For me, it was watching my kids enjoy these things. It was seeing them play for hours in the sand creating all manner of castles, forts, rivers, and writings. It was listening to them scream and squeal as they ran into the waves or body surfed the breakers. It was seeing their skin become increasingly sun-kissed and their hair lighten. It was how they fell into bed all yawns and giggles each night.
It was spending time with my people. It was greatly lessened responsibilities. It was having the opportunity to settle in and just watch and listen and learn about my kids. To hold hands and meander about. To chat about things deeper than the ocean as we floated out past the breakers.
It was an afternoon spent wandering a local festival with my sweetheart. It was waking up to greet the sunrise with him, and trying to catch teensy sand sharks with him and my sister and brother-in-law after the kids were all tucked into bed.
In short, it was pretty spectacular.
Thanks, Mom and Dad. This big family vacation was better then I could have ever imagined.