Our family went to Gulf Shores beach last week. It was a wonderful time with my own family as well as my husband’s family. At the beginning of the week, we had his brother’s family with us. In total, we had four adults and four children.
The easy part is the almost five-hour drive from Atlanta, GA to the Bay Minette, AL exit. From there, one has only 78 miles, but another 2 hours of traffic, stop lights and congestion to drive through to get to the final destination. This is the part I can’t stand. The traffic coming against us was also large in magnitude. Then, we stopped at the Wal-Mart on the corner of the Gulf Shores Parkway and Ft. Morgan Blvd. It was jam-packed with people at 1pm. After we hurriedly stocked up on supplies we didn’t bring with us from Atlanta, we hopped into the car for the last 22 miles along a two lane road.
It was peaceful and for the first time, I felt I could soar. After being in all that traffic, I was ready to move. We got to the condo building and got settled. At the beach itself, it was a red flag day. We all went in the water and enjoyed the rough waves. Afterwards, we ate dinner on the balcony, enjoyed whole fruit margaritas from Vita Mix recipe book and went upstairs to the roof deck.
Our children enjoyed their two cousins ages 4 and 7 tremendously. In fact, Thing 1 seemed to spend all her time with the boy cousin. My sister-in-law remarked that they were on their own vacation without us.
Things seemed to work well each day. In the mornings, I would have a cup of tea, read a devotional from Ann Voskamp’s, “One Thousand Gifts” devotion book, and then take a twenty-minute walk along the beach. I love the beach in the early morning. On the first morning, I met a fisherman who had just caught a catfish. He showed me how he uses live bait from the sand crabs he caught along the beach the previous night.
We did dinners the next two nights and played a game called I’m the Boss. On that Tuesday, everyone was starting to hit the wall. In fact, we were planning on going to see historic Ft. Morgan, but nixed the plan. On Wednesday, they left, and my husband’s parents came in. The dynamic completely changed. Not better or worse, just different.
But what made the first part of the vacation so nice was that I was dealing with people my own age.
As an only child I was constantly being dragged to events with older people. My “friends” as a child were my babysitters. Even when I started getting interested in boys, they were usually a few years older than me. Today, I’m in a book club and a Bible study with much older people. I’ve always been more comfortable with people a few years older or a few years younger than me.
The fact that I was with people my own age during a vacation was a novelty – but a refreshing one at that.