Every year somewhere around the 4th of July, The Hubster and I go camping on our Annual Beach Date Trip. It's only one night, but it has become a tradition I look forward to so much, that when we are leaving the beach from one trip, I am already talking about the next one to come the following year.
I am a girl who thrives on tradition; the history of things excites me. I can't explain it. I'm the one who buys a beat-up torn-down table because it is that way. I've had someone ask me as I made a purchase like that how I was going to refurbish it, to which I replied, "I'm not. I absolutely love the cracks and weathered appeal. It tells me all about it's character." The person looked at me like I was mad, and it made me smile.
Building traditions is like that for me. I believe it creates the legacy we live in the present and the one we leave behind. I don't think anyone is going to remember things I said or did in 100 years, but perhaps I can build traditions in our family that continue to be passed along from generation to generation and that may make a difference both now and long after I'm gone.
It is crucial to part of that legacy that The Kiddos and Grittles (GRAND Littles) see The Hubster and I make time for one another; that we still date each other. It is vital to the lifeline of their own marriages and relationships. Hence, the Annual Beach Camping Date Trip!
It's pretty simple, really. We take our tent, which we set up in the back of the truck instead of on the sandy beach. There has to be a thermos of wine and two plastic wine glasses. We take along hot dogs and tortillas to wrap them in - and don't forget the skewers to hold them over the fire!
Ah, the fire. It's essential to a successful night, and I mean ESSENTIAL. We go around the beach collecting wood and shells to create a pit for the fire. We roast those wieners, sip our wine, look up at the stars, and listen to the roar of the ocean waves (and maybe a little Enya).
We play verbal games that remind us of how rich beyond riches we are. We play "What's the Top-Five Most-Beautiful Places We've Ever Been" game, and "Top Three Favorite Restaurants", or "Best Family Vacay Memories". We talk about our wedding, which by no coincidence, took place on the beach. We never let any sad or unhappy memories interfere with our date - we have enough of those during our regular-life days together! #Reality
One of our favorite games is something we actually do on our regular days together, but this time with a twist. On normal days at dinner together, whether we are by ourselves, with The Fam, or with friends, we play "The Pit and the Peak". This game is where everyone goes around saying the worst part of their day first (The Pit), and then to end on a good note they must say the best part of their day (The Peak).
Since no worst part of any day is allowed to be discussed on this date, we call it "The Beach and the Pit". This is where we sit around that fire pit we built in the sand, and talk about all of the best parts of our marriage - the things one has said or done for the other in order to edify them; the times that stand out to us in a great and fond way. Now sometimes things are repeated from the same game the year before, and that is more than okay. And there are the new moments from the time we left the beach the year before to the present that we talk about.
It is so easy for we, as mere humans, to cling to the bad. It is, in fact, easier to place any good on a forgotten shelf if something bad occurs. We all do it, really. But life is too short to allow that to happen, so I will fiercely fight for the memories of the happy things - the good parts - even if it means I fight fire with fire by sitting around one and forcing those memories to the surface. It is the best medicine for those regular days that bring reality back into play.
Do you have beat-up torn-down memories in your own history that tend to make you feel like you need a refurbished life? Do you allow them to make you feel cracked and weathered or know that it builds character in you and can create a good-and-long-remembered legacy you can leave behind? Does it make you look back and feel like a mad person or make you smile?
Real life is not always beachy and full of fun and games - trust me, I know. But it is definitely what you make of it and what you allow it to make of you. Don't put all the good on a forgotten shelf. And mark out those times to remember the peaks - even if it means you must fiercely fight to do so. And in order to see you are rich beyond riches, let the fondest pit be the fire.