It’s time for so many families to get ready for their annual family beach vacations. Many are not just dealing with their immediate family but also with their extended family including parents, siblings and cousins. Claire who runs WHN Temporary Division said growing up she had up to 35 people at a time in their beach house. And the tradition continues -just with more space. Memories are made of these precious days of sand, sun, surf and shared space.
For some of us, the beach was really the only possible answer to summer break. Our kids never got along well—let me be clear, they were TERRIBLE together– but somehow a big stretch of sand, plenty of digging tools, pails, and coolers filled with food seemed to be the elixir that worked. When I say our kids didn’t get along, let me be very clear. We couldn’t travel in the same car together. Someone was always breathing someone else’s air. Someone was always taking up too much of the seat. There were always pokes, jabs, tears and the resulting parental interventions. Remember – there were no DVDs to divert, no iPads, etc. Ultimately, we decided for the sake of our sanity to divide up the family for travel—I flew with one child and my husband drove with the other.
These are not proud memories I am sharing. Just a little behind the scenes drama that I’m sure some other families experience. Sibling rivalry sucks. My husband and I tried every ploy we could think of . I read any book and article I could get my hands on. Siblings Without Rivalry was my bedside bible. It wasn’t a fun parenting time. And it went on for what seemed like forever. But if you ask our children about their summer weeks at the beach, they will have no recollection of discord. Loving, indulgent grandmothers came and beloved cousins, aunts and uncles visited. We have wonderful photos and video commemorating every year. As the kids got into college and then their work lives, these beach vacations sadly ended.
Tonight our daughter is getting on a plane to fly to LA to spend the July 4th holiday with her brother. Our kids are having their Independence Day celebration beachside independent of their parents. Our son has made all sorts of plans to keep his sister busy and happy. Hiking, biking, dinners, parties. I can hardly believe I’m writing this. For all of you struggling with fighting siblings, there is hope. Hang in there.
Happy 4th of July one and all!