This has become our ritual as the years pass since we lost my mother. In her death, I have found a new best friend and confidante. We are closer than we have ever been. I am still his cherished and spoiled little girl, as is my daughter. She is close with her Grandpa, and they also share a special bond. One that only they have. She is her Grandpa's girl. Just like I have always been my Daddy's girl.
As has become our tradition, my Daddy drives and I am lulled to sleep by the constant wave like twists and turns of the West Virginia Turnpike. The constant curves rock me like when I was a child, in the car with my Mommy and Daddy, and little brother headed to the beach. The beautiful and majestic mountains that I love turn into the scenic overlooks of Virginia.Virginia runs into the flatter land of North Carolina, which eventually turns into the long stretch of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Hatteras, we are almost there! I always feel safe and secure when we are with him.
This was the destination of our first beach trip after we lost my mother. This will be our fourth trip with my father to this paradise. It is the place where I broke my leg, where my baby learned to swim, a place to relax, to slow down and enjoy each other, to heal, to figure out life without my mother, and to enjoy our island away from home. I have so many fond memories and pictures of this culturally rich little island. I hold it and them close to my heart.
So again, just for this week, every year, we can escape and play like children in the sand and surf, or at the pool. We can fly kites without abandon, and build the sandcastles of our dreams. My father is helping to teach my little one just like he taught me all those years ago our family's beach traditions. We are also helping to teach her the importance of family, working hard so that you can play harder, and to always stay a kid at heart! She has also learned that we are very blessed to be able to share these beach trips with my Daddy, because not everybody gets to go to the beach every year, and life is fleeting.
We are also blessed with a husband and father, the calibre of my Daddy, that graciously shares us every summer. To my husband, I am forever grateful for his constant understanding of our needs.
These vacations to the Outer Banks of North Carolina have meant so much to us all. They have allowed us all to appreciate family more in the here and now, and to let my father and daughter(and me) develop memories that will last a lifetime. Children bring such joy, and our vacations are so fun and filled with joy and love. Grandpa and his little conspirator against Mommy.
So we are off to the land of pirates, treasure hunting, seafood, long pool mornings, longer beach afternoons, Blackbeard, Teach's Hole,
Ocracoke Island and the ferry, the sandy beaches, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse,
the Bodie Island Lighthouse, the Ocracoke Lighthouse,
Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, The Chicomaco Life Saving StationMuseum, The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, sandcastles, kite flying, The Wright Brothers Museum,
and new and wonderful memories.
So life goes on. Life changes, but it goes on. You appreciate the here and now, and look back fondly. And every year, I look back as I take this drive with my father and daughter to our favorite beach. As I am lulled into a sleepy, dream like state by all the gentle curves, I look back on all that was, where we are now, and how far we have come. I remenisce, shed a few tears in rememberance as I reflect on life and loss, and am humbled by the man that is my father, the beautiful girl who is my daughter, and the strength I have witnessed in both of them. I am beyond blessed to have the love of these two amazing individuals, and the close bond we all share.