We did it. We took our first family vacation since Baby Singe was born in 2007. We’ve had other “vacations” since, but they were to visit family. Last week we drove down to the Oregon Coast to spend five nights away from Seattle. We booked this vacation about two months ago and a variety of emotions have swept through my head during these past eight weeks.
Let me start by saying our trip, which concluded Tuesday afternoon, was splendid. We spent five nights in Manzanita, Oregon, renting a vacation house on the outskirts of the sleepy beach town. We made sure each day to visit the beach and take in the local sites. We are from Seattle so of course this means we found a local coffee shop and enjoyed their brew and baked goods and awesome grocery store. Note, I love finding great grocery stores while traveling. It wasn’t all about the grocery store discovery though. We saw seals, a deer, kite boarders, deserted storefronts, spiders, chipmunks, tsunami evacuation signs, fishermen, and many other things.
What I didn’t expect was the wonderful weather. We took many trips to the Oregon Coast when I was a fragile teen. My mom took us to the coast since it was rather inexpensive compared to air travel and only a four hour drive. The three youngest children would pile in the car and head to the scenic Oregon Coast. She’d get a motel room and we’d sneak in after hours as to not pay extra child feees. Normally our visits happened in the fall when the fog was thick and the rain was heavy.
Both these weather elements were lacking, but the memories were a plenty. I could picture places I visited twenty years ago. I could vaguely recall the parking lots of various state parks and craft stores. I remember the restaurants where we ate as a family. About 23 years ago my parents wrapped up their divorce and my mom did what she could to treat her youngest three boys. The first trip to the coast we all piled in my mom’s brand spanking new Hyundai Excel hatchback. Why do I remember this? Every single person asked my mom about her sparkly new car. I distinctly recall a man asking about the car as we were overlooking the ocean from the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
Those were painful times in my life, but much of the pain was swept away with the riptides. There’s something so calming about sitting on the beach and watching the world unfold. That was true as a teen and still remains the same as a parent. Watching my daughter discover new things during our trip was fascinating. Hearing her say “Haystack Rock is a monolith” was enough to make me melt.
All this being said, Thursday is back to work day. The last 7 days have been about unwinding and catching up with memories and forging new ones. As I alluded to in this post, those were difficult times made better by time spent communing with nature. It works every time for me whether I’m climbing trees as an adult or holding hands with my wife while taking in a West Seattle sunset. Nature is where I’m most at ease.