The journey to Rehoboth began with me in the back seat sandwiched between 2 car seats containing a 2-year-old, and a 3-year-old. The highlight of traveling this way was the opportunity to watch episodes of Dinosaur Train and Dora the Explorer hours on end. This was done while pausing numerous times to wipe their dripping little noses (they both had colds) more times than I cared to count! When they became bored with their programs, we then switched to playing restaurant. My granddaughter in the role of waitress, pulled out her erasable pad and began taking orders. I ordered every food combination imaginable, multiple times.
Once we arrived at our beach house the herding of cats began. That is what we like to call it when we are attempting to get our group all moving in the same direction. A simple trip to the ocean required multiple modes of non-motorized transportation equipment and arguments over which cousins were riding with who. Once we finally arrived at the water, it was all eyes on kids as they scuttled excitedly in every direction across the sand and into the water. Their squeals of delight as they ran from the waves and bent to pick up the perfect seashells, filled the air.
We were fortunate enough to discover a fall festival which featured live music, food, and children’s crafts. The kids had a wonderful time dancing and shaking maracas to the music (I may or may not have been shaking right along with them). For some of them, it was their first experience with a live concert, and they were loving it. There was also a 40-foot tall, 8-ton, metal Steampunk treehouse that you could climb to the top. Being quite height adverse, I was not excited to climb the steep, narrow, spiraling steps while hanging on to two toddlers, but that is exactly what I did, twice!
Then there was bedtime. Did I mention that by the end of the week 4 of the 6 grandchildren had colds? Well, they did, and all night there was coughing, one wakening the others, which resulted in general mayhem. I don’t think anyone truly got a full night’s rest the entire week.
I am sure by this time you are thinking, oh poor Rhonda, what a horrible vacation, but you would be completely wrong. Yes, it may have been chaotic, and yes there may have been a few restaurants that had to contact a hazmat team for cleanup after we exited, and yes, I might have returned home with a whopping cold of my own, but I wouldn’t have traded that week for the world.
I can think of nothing that could have given me more pleasure than watching my grandchildren looking to the sky in wonder as they flew a kite for the very first time. Or the happiness I felt when they discovered just how Turtle Bridge got its name as they watch the turtles below gliding through the water. Just watching them play and discover together, sharing hugs and laughter, made all the discomforts experienced worth it. These memories are ours and will be treasured forever.
I am sure that you too have been building a beautiful collection of memories with your loved ones. Let this be a reminder to all of us that the inconveniences we may be experiencing today will be worth it in the future. I believe this quote says it perfectly, “The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we’ve made along the way.” -Anonymous Rhonda S. Kelley, Executive Director, Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce