Memories That Last a Lifetime . . .

We leave for our annual trip to the beach in a couple of days. For the last 8 or 9 years we've been meeting my sister's husband's family and friends in Wildwood Crest, NJ for a family reunion. This is something that the boys look forward to every year. When their father passed away they were all concerned that we wouldn't go anymore and I promised them that we'd always find a way to go, no matter what. As of last year, we were up to about 135 people (family members and friends) who all come for the week. Many wonderful friendships have been formed and, for the most part, this is the only time of the year we all get to see each other.

Last year we decided to stay at the beach for just a couple of days. My sister and her husband had sadly split up last year and I wasn't sure how comfortable I'd feel without Cindy being there. We split up the vacation by staying half the week in Wildwood Crest and then taking the Cape May Ferry across and driving to Virginia. The kids were upset about having to leave the beach but were thrilled with Busch Gardens and the water park in VA. It was truly the hottest weather I've ever experienced but we all had a wonderful time. It was our first family vacation with Jim in our lives and he booked us into the nicest hotel room we've ever stayed in!! The kids didn't want to go back home!! We took a lot of grief from everyone when we left the beach and were made to promise that we'd be back this year for the whole week. Not only did we decide to go back the whole week but we also opted for two rooms this year since 5 of us in one room gets to be a bit too much. That's a definite understatement!! We also usually end up with other kids sleeping in our room a couple of nites. It's a week of free-for-all for all the kids. They are allowed to swim whenever they want, eat whatever they want, go to bed whenever they want, play in the game room whenever they want, play miniature golf whenever they want, etc., etc., etc. We all look out for each other's kids and just go with the flow. Now you can see why we all look forward to this every year, especially the kids!!

Over the years, many things have changed and evolved. We've seen new babies born, new marriages, children turning into young men and women, first days of school and graduations. We've also experienced the death of two young and vibrant people. My first husband and one of my brother-in-law's relatives both died very unexpectedly. John had a stroke and an undiagnosed heart condition and Pat had melanoma. She passed away a couple of months after her diagnosis. She had the most infectious laugh you ever heard in your life!! To honor them, each year we now have "John's B-B-Q" and "Pat's Horse Races." They are no longer here in body but you can feel them in spirit, that's for sure.

Each year, we come home with memories that will last a lifetime. The boys will always look back at their summer vacations in Wildwood Crest and remember them as the hi-lite of their summers. I have come to love the Norton family as my own. We've shared laughter and tears, happy times and sad times. I hope that we will all meet in Wildwood Crest for many years to come. Maybe, just maybe, Jim and I might even get to introduce our grandchildren to everyone. Boy, is that projecting or what?!!?

Many blessings ~ Wendy

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Sounds like a wonderful week. I wish I was going with you!