Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beach Baby

My father was a high school teacher and my mother was a stay at home mom, so when I was growing up the whole family had the whole summer off. How sweet is that? It gets sweeter. Pretty much every summer of my life, growing up, with very few exceptions, we spent three or four weeks in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I have such happy memories of my summers at the beach.

Since retiring, my parents have been going to Myrtle Beach every winter. For a week, then two, then a month, then two, next year they'll be there a full three months. They've always wanted to recreate those family vacations, but my sister and I have kids and there's school and jobs and blah blah blah and it just isn't so easy for us to get away in the middle of the winter.

A couple months ago, my sister told me she and her family were going to drive down in their motor home over President's Day weekend. I expressed jealousy. She said, "come along". I said my kids would die of jealousy. She said, "bring 'em". And I did.

My parents, my mother in particular, were very happy that we'd finally all be together at "our" beach again. I was just happy to see the beach in February. Which is not my favorite. February, that is, not the beach. The beach is totally my favorite.

Myrtle Beach has changed a lot since I was there last (25 years ago or so! Yikes!). I was hard pressed to recognize anything. It was a little bittersweet. In the last 25 years it has become very commercial. By the end of our long weekend I was longing for a meal in a restaurant that was not attached to a gift shop.

Liv Shelby and I going into the Hard Rock

I gave some money to the Hard Rock Cafe. Because I always do. Because I am a sucker. We had an awesome Hard Rock experience, though. I went with my daughters and my niece. We weren't going for a meal, just to spend money and browse. So we got there at 10:00 am when the gift shop was open and the restaurant wasn't. The girl in the gift shop said we were free to poke around. So we did. We had the run of the whole place. We were able to look at all of the memorabilia without feeling like we were interrupting anyone's meal. It was awesome. I touched Joe Perry's guitar. Oh yes I did. And, to the delight of my young charges, I squeeeed right out loud like the squealy fangirl that I am.

Liv and Shelby (with Pink!) in front of the Hard Rock

We also gave some money to the KISS Coffeehouse, because you never know when Gene Simmons is gonna run out of money. I don't want to be the one responsible if they can't afford to indulge Shannon Tweed's next whim. Also, Tom was in the KISS Army, and he was the only one not with us on this trip. It was the obvious place to pick up some overpriced souvenirs for him. Also, it was fun, in a completely silly sort of way.

Liv and Shelby (with Pink again!) in front of the KISS Coffeehouse. Who's a rock star?

Thank goodness for the Gay Dolphin. Now THIS was something I recognized. A landmark from my youth. And it had not changed at all. I swear, I think some of the merchandise may have even been the same stuff that was there then. It was tacky and cheap and a little dirty and ridiculously comforting.

I witnessed every sunrise, only this time I didn't watch them alone. We had a beautiful view right from our condo window, and I enjoyed that, but better than that were the mornings when the kids wanted to go down and watch the sun rise from the beach. It was so awesome to watch the little ones running free on the empty beach and picking up shells while the eldest took the time to be introspective.

Lea, Shelby and Liv for our first beach sunrise

Liv collecting shells

Lea thinking deep thoughts in shallow water

Another reason my mother was so excited about our visit is that it gave us the opportunity to celebrate her birthday with her for the first time in many many years. Her birthday and my aunts birthday fall pretty close together, so they always celebrate at Myrtle Beach. Although our visit was a little early, we got them a cake and had a little surprise celebration in my sisters camper. They were so happy. It made the whole trip worthwhile.

My mom and my aunt - the birthday girls

Elsie (my BIL's mom), my mom, my aunt, Shelby, Lea and Liv - (birthday) party on, dudes!

A big highlight of the trip for me was that I got to spend some real quality one on one time with my mother and with each of my daughters. That's something we don't tend to make enough time for, and it was really quite wonderful.

I think if we can swing it, I'd like to do it again. I think I'd actually like that a lot.


Unknown said...

What a lovely post! You obviously had a wonderful vacation in a place that holds a great deal of meaning for you.

How did I miss the opportunity to get together with Tom while he was all alone here in Pick-town? That does not say good things about me, not one little bit.

Thanks for sharing...and for coming back to cold, wintry Ohio!

bassislife said...

The only reason I stayed behind is because I had too much work to do. I ended up working through the weekend. Sigh.

mommakin said...

It was actually pretty cold there, too. But it was still the beach. Warm would've been better, but beach was good enough...

Swine said...

How many shots of Patron did your mom and aunt drink?

mommakin said...

Funny you should ask... My mom doesn't drink. Anything. Ever. No how, no way. My aunt, however, enjoys a little libation from time to time. So our last night there - right before the little cake celebration - we were out to dinner and my sister and I were having martini's. My aunt was begging sips off of us. We happily obliged, but told her she really oughtta order her own. She wouldn't because she was afraid of being judged. Good call. Leaving the restaurant, my mom was holding her up "you shouldn't have drunk all of that, Jennie! You're gonna FALL" (my aunt was in no such danger - she'd probably had 4 sips) My mom spent the rest of the night making jokes about my aunt's drinking and being drunk and falling down - the way only someone who has never let alcohol pass their lips could. I'm visiting my aunt in June and I'm thinking a nice bottle of Effen vodka will accompany me, just so we can say, "leave us alone! we're drinking our effen vodka!"

Swine said...

I LOVE Effen Vodka for that reason. We're so effen mature, aren't we?