July 02 2013


Family vacation.

Just those two words conjure up so many memories. I think about the time that we were camping and a bird pooped right in my dad’s beard. Or the time that we had to pay in order to have hot water for our showers. Or when we visited Amish country and went to the classic car museum several times because it was the only place that had air conditioning.

I think about mountain pies cooked over a fire pit outside and filet mignon served in a beautiful state room. I think about games of dominoes and Phase 10 and Skip-bo and Balderdash. I think about singing DC Talk at the top of our lungs, about fighting over who got to sit where, about laughing at jokes that were only funny to the five of us.

I remember the night when we laid out in a field in Vermont and looked into the infinity of space and felt simultaneously insignificant and significant. Knowing that we were part of something so much larger than us, but knowing that we were loved individually and specifically.

For a long time, family vacation only meant the time that I spent with my parents or my sisters. Eventually it expanded to include my husband and my own children. And those are good vacations. They require me to give up busyness and focus on people that I love for a while. They require an investment in relationships that mean a lot to me.

But recently my definition has expanded again. Because my definition of who my family is has expanded.

Now I can’t just think about time with the people to whom I am related, but also about those who I have invited into my life in intimate ways.

So family vacation is about sitting at a table in a cafe, sipping on coffee and working on a bit of writing with another blogging friend, taking a minute to snicker about tweets that we’re reading.

Family vacation is karaoke in a bar that serves Vienna sausages and has sad kitten tapestries on the wall and laughing until our sides hurt.

Family vacation is about a long dinner with a friend who I’m getting to hug for the very first time, even though we’ve known each other for years.

Family vacation is a breakfast conversation that is filled with solemnity and laughter and the knowledge that both are safe to express.

Family vacation is catching up on a Google Hangout for an hour with a friend in another country.

It doesn’t have to be a trip. It doesn’t have to be with someone related to me. It simply has to be time taken from my daily routine to interact with people who are close to me.

We can create memories any time, we just have to be willing to invest the time to make them happen.


  1. Glad I could be part of your family vacation. :)

  2. Oh, yeah. I’m a firm believer in all kinds of vacations — the ones in faraway places, the ones close at hand, the ones we take in the neighborhood. Thanks, Alise. Lovely, as always.


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