Monday, August 17, 2009

Seek and Find Family

I wasn't looking for it. It wasn't something I had been dwelling on. But it struck me, with a flash of hope, on vacation in the Outerbanks, NC. I know it's out there. I know people value it. But it's not something you get to see in all its glory as I witnessed it two weeks ago. Family still exists! And I'm not just talking about nuclear families. I'm talking big, extended families sharing time and having fun together on vacation.

This was our second year vacationing in Corolla, NC. At times it feels like the middle of no where. Large houses dot the beach towns as you drive north on NC-12. Some look more like mansions. Multiple cars with a variety of license plates fill the drive-ways. But these are not hotels. Families come to stay the week. Aunts and Uncles, Brothers and Sisters, Cousins, Grandparents...they are together on this island where the nearest movie theater is over 40 minutes away. Unlike the Jersey shore, families spend the day and the night on the beach. At sunset, the beach is packed with people; children darting in and out of the warm ocean, fathers fishing in the surf, families walking their dogs enjoying the warm sea breezes. It's remarkable. During the day families mark their little piece of the beach with "party" tents and shade canopies. They compete in beach games of all kinds, some traditional like bocce ball and horseshoes, but others unique adaptatations of familiar yard games. Beach chairs are lined up to watch the competition and laughter sails on the breeze. It was like a picture postcard, a Norman Rockwell, of the American family. And it exists! It was like a breath of fresh air and it gave me hope that family is still valued. There's something special when generations have the opportunity to spend time and share love with each other.

On a personal note, we vacationed with my parents, my grandmother, my brother, sister-in-law & their 2 kids, and my husband & I & our 2 kids. There were eleven of us total. And we may have been a small family in comparison to the ones that surrounded us on the beach in Corolla. We might have marked our piece of the beach with umbrellas instead of large canopies, but I celebrate the fact that after all these years, we still love each other, want to spend time with each other, and make that effort.

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