Let's Make Memories This Spring Break
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Andre Gide
This picture of my children is one of my favorites. This vacation is actually one of my favorites as well. It was Fourth of July a few years ago and I decided to go to Virginia Beach for one last summer hoorah. My youngest daughter (pictured) was home for the summer and I wanted to savor every moment with five of my six children. So, our last adventure was to the beach, a beach I love. It rained every day we were there. But, because I am always in a state of “winging it” in one form or another a little rain didn’t stop our fun. On our final day in Virginia, I decided why not drive the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and see where life would take us. I mean it was still raining after all and what could it hurt? Off we set on an adventure that was really only supposed to be a ride over and right back, but turned into something truly magical.
Once we crossed and were on the peninsula, I began to think, well since we’re already here… I asked my daughter who was riding shotgun what she thought about turning down one of the roads. She was so engrossed in a book that the only reply she ever gave was “I don’t know, I don’t care” and the boys in the back were no help either. I decided to turn down a road and see where it would lead us. We found that it led us to the most charming town of Cape Charles. We found somewhere to park after surveying the area and determining it was fit for exploration. We discovered there was a fishing contest for kids and the town wasn’t some sleepy hamlet, oh no, the stores on Main Street were open for visitors to discover what makes this place special. We visited food trucks and other vendors and we walked along the beach enjoying the gentle lap of the water. And something else magical happened. My son, who is on the autism spectrum, actually enjoyed walking in the gentle waters. Something he never liked to do at my favorite beach spots. He actually doesn’t like the beach at all but this was different. He got to linger without fear or crashing waves and over stimulation.
Spring breaks are just as special. And what better way to prime for the real family travel season of summer than by a spring kickoff?
Spring break in the United States begins as early as February and runs through April and now is the perfect time to talk about making memories. Spring break is an opportunity for families to break out of their normal monotonous routines and have fun. It’s a time of chasing away the doldrums of winter as well as celebrate the fact that summer’s arrival is right around the corner (which is another prime opportunity to make family memories).
I have so many memories of vacations with my parents and they always make me smile. I love being able to share those memories with my own children. And I love making new memories with my children. One of my favorite vacation memories (as if they aren’t all my favorite) is when my parents and I took a road trip to New Jersey to see my grandparents for Thanksgiving one year. I was in high school and was so excited to be going to see them. It was my first time ever going to see them; they had come down to North Carolina to see us many years before so it was nice to see them in their home on a holiday. It was such a special time. It was the only holiday we spent with them. A few years later my grandfather died and all I had was that memory of spending that particular time with him. That and pictures I had taken with my Disc Camara (this was way before smart phones back in prehistoric times). Our memories are powerful. It always amazes me how the sight, the sound or even the scent of something can whisk me away in my memory bank to a time and place that is still alive even if only in my heart. I often think back on the adventures I had with my parents and I remember my parents as they were. As we were. And it brings me joy. The same joy I hope my own children experience when I am no longer with them.
And just in case you are still not convinced about planning your next family outing and the power of memories, Project Time Off conducted a study in 2012 and found that 62% of adults surveyed remembered family vacations from between ages 5 -10 and 49% reported that the vacation memories were very vivid. 75% of parents surveyed indicated that time and cost were justified because they were created lasting memories that were “priceless”. 64% of youth surveyed said they get to see and do things on vacation that they will remember for a lifetime and 53% say that vacations bring their family closer together. Children have fond memories of being on vacations with their families. Think about it, do you ever talk to your spouse or child(ren) about vacations spent with your family as a kid?
I hope the vacations I have taken my own children on will be looked back on with fondness when they have their own families. I hope they want to create lasting memories with their children to be talked about over Sunday dinners and Christmas Breaks.
And I love hearing one of my children say, “Remember that time…”
The results of the report can be read here: https://projecttimeoff.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/PTO_FamMem_ExecSumm.pdf