The picture above was taken on a vacation that my family and I took to South Padre Island, Texas back in 2002. That is actually a picture of my family with my wife sitting in the chair and my three sons standing side by side on the right.
Up until that time we had not really been on a "real" vacation, know what I mean? Yes, we had made some trips to places like St. Louis, MO. to watch a Cardinals baseball game and to go to Six Flags and to let the boys spend a lot of time in the hotel pool. If you have kids or your kids are grown, then you know how just being in a pool all day makes a vacation for them!
Sure, we all had fun on those other trips but, do you know which one is still talked about to this day? You got it, the one from the picture.
It was different from what we had ever done before and it offered us new experiences with our sons. It was also the first time that we had actually taken a full 2 weeks for a vacation. Usually I would take 1 week out of my "allowed" 2 weeks at one time. But (I'm sure you've experienced this as well) taking only a week makes it hard to travel very far without feeling like you need another vacation to recover FROM your vacation once you return home.
On this trip, my wife and I also decided that we were going to let each son pick out something that they wanted to do that was not dependent on anyone else's likes or dislikes. Our oldest son, Jacob, decided he wanted to learn how to wind surf so we allowed him to take lessons for that while we were there. He loved it. Our middle son, Jeremy, decided he wanted to go parasailing with his mom and, though he wanted to back out for a brief moment as he was being lifted into the sky (they were doing this tandem) he - and my wife - absolutely loved it. Our youngest son, Jordan, decided that he wanted to ride go carts all by himself WITHOUT his brothers on the course with him. It ended up that, when we took him to the track, he was the only person on the whole track. He loved it!
Here's the thing, though...I didn't have the money to take that vacation. Bottom line is that I didn't handle my money well and, due to that, I always seem to be coming up short. (That is a whole different story for a whole different blog article). Like most people (or a lot of them) I had to borrow the money to take this trip.
Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. I have never regretted taking that trip nor have I ever regretted borrowing the money to do so. This vacation has brought about life-long memories that my family and I STILL talk about to this very day, twelve years later.
Oh, and those boys in the photo above? Our oldest son, Jacob is now 30, married with 2 young children of his own. As a matter of fact, he and his wife, Beth, celebrated their 8th wedding anniversary yesterday. And, our "middle" son, Jeremy, is now 27. He and his wife, Cassidy, celebrated their 6th wedding anniversary just a couple of weeks ago. And Jordan, our youngest, is now 23.
It's hard to believe that my sons are this age and at these various stages of their lives! But, friend, it happens quicker than we realize and, again, I urge those of you that have children at home to take in and soak up every minute of it. As a song sung by Trace Adkins says, "You're Going to Miss This" one of these days. "This" being things that we take for granted and sometimes grumble about.
What's my point?
For one, it is important for you to do all that you can to create MEMORIES - good ones - TODAY! Sure, it doesn't have to be some trip as I have described (who can do that every day?) but they can be created every day just by being there for your kids. Little, silly traditions that you create with your family. Special nicknames that you may have for them. Today is here and then it is gone.
Secondly, as I've shared with you the past couple of articles, you don't always have to go into debt or save for such a long time in order to take special trips that will create life long memories. My wife and I have started a travel business that offers special travel packages that allows you to travel for, literally, pennies on the dollar. Check out our travel Facebook page for MJ Spillman Travel.
And, hey, if you've never listened to that song by Trace Adkins that I mentioned, look it up, take notice of the lyrics and let it sink in.
Thanks for allowing me to share some special memories with you, friend. Memories that I am so glad that I was determined to make happen.
Until next time, be sure to...
"Make it an AWESOME day! (Who else is going to do it for you?)"