Summer Family Vacation: As American as Apple Pie
The all-American tradition of family summer vacations is a great opportunity to create a lifetime of family memories.
I spent half a day packing: food, clothes, chairs, water toys, umbrellas, sunscreen and more food. I finished a bit tired but happy. I was ready for that all American tradition of the summer family vacation at the beach. An hour later I was at my sea side destination. (Oh, the blessings of living in Florida. It’s not just about zombies or Casey Anthony, people.)
It is true that Americans can’t claim exclusivity on the family vacation tradition. (By the way, apple pies have roots in Germany.) But kudos must be given to them for the importance they place on it. Every year, millions of families of all social levels and backgrounds do what they can afford to huddle with their loved ones somewhere outside of the family home. It may be an exotic location or not. The idea is to unwind and share a few laughs together somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
I didn’t grow up with such tradition. I suppose that, being in a small island, my parents never saw the need to pack us up and take us to the beach or anywhere else for a number of days. The idea would’ve probably seemed silly to them, given the fact that you can see the ocean just a few miles away from their hillside home front porch. In fact, it seemed that all around me people only took family vacations if they could afford flying to Disney World.
Not that I had unpleasant summers. I had plenty of fun hanging out with my cousins, inventing games with them, eating juicy, ripe mangoes straight out of the tree. My parents would take us to different parts of the island to see historic monuments or beautiful natural sites. They did what they could to keep us happy and entertained.
But the family vacation, as I have learned in the years I’ve had my own family, is more than another way to entertain the kids. It’s an opportunity to have new experiences together, explore a new location and make memories away from distractions like laundry or yard work. Yesterday my boys found a starfish and they were mesmerized by it. “It doesn’t look much like Patrick (Sponge Bob’s friend),” my youngest one said. “Dude, that’s because Bikini Bottom isn’t real,” said the oldest. And on they went, having a deep, profound discussion they will never forget about sea creatures and whether they hold up to depictions in Sponge Bob and other children’s shows. Today we are going fishing and I just can’t wait.
Family is everything to us Latinos. Summer is offers a great chance to grow closer together. Let's take advantage of it.