This is one of my favorite spots. It is in Laguna Beach, Ca. I’ve taken photos from every angle for years. Looking forward to a little time here later this spring.
Slightly sun kissed skin; super scrunched hair; an outfit made to wear exclusively on a beach; most comfy local flip flops, toe ring, shell earrings; the smell of salt water and honeysuckle; dinner on the beachside patio sitting above the sand; watching the surfers catch the final waves of the day; a school of dolphins join in for open mic night; blue green water fading to a smooth, neutral glimmer as the sun hangs near the slippery spot of the sky; then served a plate of cuisine as artistic as it was delicious, even daring to challenge the view … all of this while dining with the only people qualified to complete the epic setting of “vaca” perfection.
Each family has certain traditions and vacation expectations. How about let’s take a little trip with just a few classics. Do you see your family in any of these situations? First of all, you have a family that I like to call “the school field trip family.” These guys have planned it for months — maybe years — gotten permission slips alphabetized and notarized, updated their will. There is a detailed schedule of activities, most likely laminated copies for all, from start to finish. There are planned side trips and assorted snacks to compliment each activity. One coordinated outfit packed for each person specifically for the purpose of themed family photo day. No veering from the plan.
Then, there is the family that decides the morning they wake up it would be a great day for a vacation. They throw a few things in the car, jump in and decide where to go based on which direction they turn out of the driveway. Is it right to the New England states or left to the Grand Canyon?? No hotel reservations — “we’re tired, there’s a hotel, we are sleeping here!” This is the family that sees the sign for the largest ball of twine and without discussion they eagerly take the exit. Stay a few days longer or come home early … whatever! That is stress free and easy travel as it should be.
This family in the middle finds the balance between theses two extremes. Well planned but flexible … spontaneous, but all options have been considered. There is room for change but there is also a plan if needed. This family tries to stick to the budget but also doesn’t miss an opportunity for a memory making moment. Everyone gets a say, but the family makes the final decision for the good of the whole group. There certainly will be a family picture or two taken. And we are all having a good time, like it or not!
I love to travel. I like the road trip, and I like the flights. I like to think about where I’m going next while I’m on my way home from where I’ve been. I like all types of vacations, but I have to say I lean 90% towards the ocean as If I feel the pull of the tide westward. That’s one of the reasons I think California is such an amazing state for travel. It has it all — beauty, the beach, the city, the desert, the mountains, low humidity and sunshine. Did you know that one could snow ski in the morning, run through the desert, and back to catch the afternoon sun and sunset over the pacific? Amazing. Needless to say, SO CAL is our go to place for vacations.
I’m not embarrassed to tell you I am always sad on the day we leave. Sometimes I cry. It’s the melancholy, “we may never pass this way again” blues. To feel things so deeply can be painful- for everyone! Bill comforts me and says, “honey it’s ok, we will come back soon.” I reply, “I know, but it will never be exactly the way it is right now.” He relents and loads the car hoping when he is finished, so will I. I have always said, “Let’s just soak in this moment.” It is worth stopping and soaking it in! It will never be as it is right now- never! I have to soak it in and yet the fateful moment to load up and move on comes. The calendar…uncaring and indifferent to the precious few years we have with our children in our home. Time clicks by without much mercy to buffer our unprepared hearts. So we do the best we can and soak it in long and hard.
Rachel and I had a series of spring break trips to California while she was in high school- sometimes with a best friend along. Just us two or three girls hanging out in Cali. We honestly had such amazing moments I will never forget each story from our trips. In the days before iPhone maps and Siri, it looked like me driving straight east and vowing we were headed towards to ocean, while Rachel learned to wisely remain silent. The iPhone has been a great friend to those of us who are directionally challenged! I can go anywhere now, just me and my iphone. I think this gives Bill a slight fright. While on our girl trips, I would look deliberately at us together with the sights as our backdrop, living and laughing through life…trying to flash freeze the time. I would say each time as I put my arms around Rachel, “Honey, just soak it in.” It was mother daughter moments I wouldn’t trade for the world. A series of meaningful minuets while driving down Highway 1; eating March strawberries huge and sweet; the perfect playlist blasting; Disneyland from open to close; all the beaches up and down the PCH; dragging our luggage up the ridiculously far and steep self parking lot of the Newport Beach Hyatt, wearing sunglasses and sunshine shopping.
My heart is so full of soaked in moments, I play them over in my head anytime I like. I got to be in DC for Jude’s 2 birthday in February and Sam’s 1st in March. I couldn’t help but watch and look deeper into Rachel’s eyes and knew, she too was indeed, ‘soaking it in.’ She said, “Mom, I want us to take one of our trips sometime.” Eyes watered, “Me too baby. Me too.”
Photographs by Sheri Langley
Rachel and I are excited to collaborate on a blog coming soon on the topic of Mothers/Daughters — so I hope you’ll stop by and visit us. In the meantime during this spring, whatever memories you are making with your daughter, son, or any family or friends, remember “Honey, just soak it in! Soak it in.”