Sunday, July 1, 2012
Family Vacation Heals Us
We just got back from a family vacation at the ocean where we rented a small beach house overlooking the water. To say it was spectacular is an understatement.
As you can imagine, we didn’t plan much—other than playing at the ocean and returning to the hot tub once back at the house. Over the years, experience has taught us that the less we plan, the better. We also took advantage of vacationing in a home where we could prepare familiar family meals, this eliminated a lot of the upset a vacation can typically bring with stress over new foods and crowded places. Add to that the incredible healing power of the ocean. Almost immediately you can see our son’s body relax and his spirit glow. As a result, our entire family got into “the zone” allowing us to connect in a positive way and build special memories.
One memory I’ll always cherish was a day where the winds were incredibly strong, so much so that the younger kids were almost in tears because the sand felt like needles on our skin. My sweet husband searched the beach to improve our circumstances and found a large rock for us to hide behind so we could shield our bodies from the blasting wind. And there we were, all of us huddled behind this huge boulder with the exception of my oldest who was out in the wind having the time of his life digging sand castles. He wasn’t letting the unfortunate conditions bring him down, if anything he was embracing every moment with pure joy.
I also took special pleasure in seeing my husband connect with our boys, I could tell they were soaking it up and even my husband commented on how much fun he was having with each of them. The last time we had this kind of vacation was 8 years ago. It was the last time we went on a vacation alone as a family and a time before our son showed symptoms of a mental illness. Back then, I didn’t even know what a mood disorder was and family joy was a normal part of our life. Over the years, I’ve looked at old photos from this trip and have longed for our life to return to that kind of normal.
Now flash forward 8 years later and I can honestly say that during this vacation, I felt our “normal” once again. We may have had medications throughout the day, but I got to see my son at his best. I got to feel our family connect like we were so many years ago. It felt so good. It felt like coming home.