Sometimes honesty is the best way to explain things to our children. Is it always? I feel it depends on their age, the question or topic, the reason, or the circumstance. But I do feel when we are honest, we are showing our children we respect them and value their feelings and opinions.
Always around this time of year, if not earlier, the question comes up about summer. My kids always like to know where or if we are going on vacation. Even though they have known since the fall that there was not going to be a summer trip this summer, they still began to ask. It was on Easter that the topic came up at my in-laws’ house during Easter dinner. My nieces wanted to know if we could all go to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. My heart stopped and I started to feel uncomfortable. You are probably wondering why. The reason…this was our annual vacation since I was 18 yrs. old. Since I was 18 yrs.old I had been going to the Outer Banks with Ryan and his family. I have returned one time since his death. I can’t go back.
I have guilt over this because this is THE beach to my kids. We have gone to other beaches but they never compared to the Outer Banks. My kids when they think of a trip to the beach don’t think of a boardwalk, rides, shopping, miniature golfing, going out to dinner. My kids think of being in a house right on the beach. They think of walking out on the deck and taking bread or Cheez-its to feed the seagulls. They think of spending endless hours playing in the sand and going in the water. They think of hanging out catching ghost craps. They think of flying a kite on the beach after dinner. This is what the beach is to them. We did not go out to dinner. We rarely left the beach house and my kids were very happy. Yes they were young but they loved just being on the beach and playing in the sand and water. We started to go miniature golfing and climbing Jockey’s Ridge. But they never asked to leave and do anything. We were starting to do those things because they were getting older. Our trips to the beach were truly relaxing.
I miss it.
I miss it terribly. But I can’t go back. I have done a lot of things that are hard for me for my kids. But this is the one thing I can’t do. There are too many memories. Too many memories that have nothing to do with my kids. For years before getting married and starting our own life, this is where Ryan and I went every summer. It is too painful.
I finally was honest with them. And you know what, they were very understanding. There were no tears. No one argued with me. No one tried to convince me to go. They got it. For that I am so grateful.
So for now, they are happy with heading to different beaches for the day or a short weekend. They don’t need the “extras” that come with going to the beach. They just need the sand, the sun, and the water.