Thirteen years. Thirteen years that Stephen and I have been together and this was our first trip to the beach together.
I’ve never really been a big beach person. I’m pale (not that Stephen isn’t, but…) and burn extremely easily. My mom has had malignant melanoma twice. My outdoorsy nature is one that includes drinking wine on patios or hiking in the woods. Things that involve the shade. But several years ago, my in laws got a condo through the Westin in Hilton Head – the place Stephen and his family went every year on vacation while he was growing up. All this time, they’ve asked if we ever wanted to go down for a vacation. Every time, we would pass. Various things would be going on or we just wouldn’t feel like it.
And then we had our own son. Our own son who had never been to the beach. My in laws were going to Hilton Head for the 4th of July and Stephen had some time off from work saved up, so we finally agreed. I went into full momtog mode. I’m not even going to try to hide it. If my little boy was going to go into the ocean for the first time, I needed ALL THE PICTURES. So I bought a GoPro HERO 5 and off we went.
Henry squealed and laughed and was the image of pure joy the moment the waves touched his feet for the first time. To say he loved it would be an understatement. And in those moments, I became a beach person just so I could continue to experience his happiness. When he finally was able to get into the pool for the first time, he again couldn’t contain how excited he was. It was another first for him, but you would never know it. He was a total natural and would’ve happily stayed in the water all day if he could have. We explored the island and Henry got to experience so many of the same things Stephen did countless times in his own childhood. He didn’t get to hear Gregg Russell singing this time, but he did play on the playground named in his honor. He climbed every single one of the 114 steps of the Harbour Town Lighthouse himself was amazed looking out at the top. Seeing it all through his eyes was the best part of it all.
Our first true family vacation. It definitely won’t be another 13 years before we go to the beach again because this joy was too amazing to not soak up as often as we can.