Money can't buy this.
For spring break this year, we took the family to one of our personal favorite spots, Isle of Palms. Admittedly, it's not my favorite beach and the costs associated with visiting the Charleston area are a little excessive for our budget but we got a pretty good deal on a condo on the beach with a roof-top patio so the sunrises were inspiring. Additionally, I fished twice a day and did well enough to feed five of us with some filets leftover for snacks, later. The fish were mainly Atlantic Croakies and not all that big but were fun to catch and after some creative sautéing, the taste was good.
The girls spent a good portion of their time in Charleston on carriage rides, shopping, sight-seeing, etc.... The entire family made a day of it on Thursday at the Aquarium, Hymans, Charleston Marina and Emmanuel AME Church (to pay our respects). However, with all of it's grandeur and history, my favorite portion of the entire trip was spent on a day when my son and I walked 7-8 miles together on the beach and eventually to Morgan Creek Grille (pictured above). Granted, we were tired by the end of the trip and my little boy's feet were aching from his shoes which had rubbed a blister on them but his expression of enjoyment due to getting to hang out with his Dad, alone was worth the pain my left knee later inflicted on me. At one point when we were shimming though the high-tide at a barrier, unprompted he said "Dad, I really love you and walking with you has been the best part of my trip."
My Dad (deceased 5 years) used to tell me how important it was for me to spend time with my son. "Don't replace time with things" he would say. I witnessed this in 2013 when I went through an unexpected job change. Even though the money went away, my time with him (my son) increased dramatically and that alone drove my decision to accept a position at a much lower pay-scale but a much higher family-time scale.
If you're reading this and are a parent, don't discount the time you spend with your child/children. Doing homework with them, piddling in the yard/garage with them, watching their favorite show or playing a video game with them; all are critically important moments they will never forget.
I close with a favorite memory of mine with my Dad. My Dad was very hard worker (i.e. most of his life was involved in factory work). Even when he wasn't at the factory, he was cutting wood, fixing cars, etc.... Like a lot of sons and Dads, we had our less than stellar moments but he invested in me and worked hard to provide. One night when he was away playing for a band, I accidentally allowed his spare tire from his truck to roll down hill and into a thicket which would be pretty tough to retrieve. My mom assured me Dad would kill me when he returned so I should say whatever prayers I could muster and go to bed. Life would soon be ending. However, Dad not only did not kill me, he sort of laughed it off and assured me he could retrieve the tire with little to no harm. Typically, Dad would have doled out some level of punishment but not this time. I never took the opportunity to ask him why so I'll just believe it was because he loved me.
Periodic updates from our family.