Family Beach Week

Family at Madeira Beach 2012

The whole crew, Madeira Beach 2012

My family just returned from our annual beach week. Its a time-share that my parents have owned for more than 30 years, we go the same week in August annually and we see the same families there every year, too.

It’s not the ritziest place in the world (but it’s not bad either). The pool does always seems to have an oily quality to it that makes me cringe, but the kids don’t seem to mind. I didn’t when I was a kid either.

Rainbow over Madeira Beach

We have been going there for so many years and have all watched each other grow up, grow old, and a new generation born and toted to the beach. It’s like a family reunion. In fact, many years ago, my mom sat with a woman from Chicago while watching us kids play in the pool and, in talking, they figured out that we were related. Not that distantly either. I love our found-by-a-chance Chicago “cousins”. Seeing them is a highlight of the trip every year.

Cousins on the beach

Trying to get 5 kids standing in the same place and smiling at the same time is next to impossible.

It’s been fun growing up there. In college years, the kids in my age group would drink beers down on the beach at night while our parents sat by the pool doing the same. Now, we are at the age where we are pretty much relegated to our rooms at night with our small children. We see the current generation of drinking-beer-on-the-beach-ers when they finally wake up and venture from their rooms around noon the next day. By that time, we’ve already had several rounds of pool and beach according to the whims of our children, of course.

Give it a few more years, teens. You’ll be stuck in your rooms at night while we are sitting pretty on the pool deck. Ahhhh, the circle of life. 🙂

Tipsy banana float that dumped all the kids on their heads

Tipsy banana float that dumped all the kids on their heads.

It’s such a nice, lazy week. I like to sit on the balcony with a cup of coffee and watch the dolphins’ fins lazily arcing through the water as they do their morning fishing. Spotting that fin is just as much a delight today as it was when I was a kid.

Uncle Matt can always be counted on to play in the pool with the kids tirelessly and then grill hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone. He’s such a great addition to our family, my sister did a good job in picking such a nice man. Aunt Tammy always has the beach tent area nailed down, with drinks, snacks, chairs, and plenty of floaty toys for the kids to fight over. Another good family addition by my brother.

Uncle Matt grills up some stuff for us

Master Griller Uncle Matt and his assistant

This year, my generation got the grandparents to babysit while we went out for a nice dinner followed by karaoke. I realized far too late that I did not know nearly as many words to Snoop Dog’s “Gin and Juice” as I thought I did, and we discovered that our soft-spoken cousin Will has a really nice singing voice.

My brother and I also rented a stand-up paddle board and tried that for the first time. I loved it and now I want to buy one. It’s a whole new way of accessing the Gulf. I’m usually scared of going out where I can’t stand (or see). I don’t like thinking about what’s beneath me in the water. I’m always just waiting for the sandpapery skin of a shark to brush up against my leg. Shiver. (Ironically, Shark Week on the Discovery Channel usually coincides with our annual beach week and my daughter and I take great delight in watching it).

But the good thing about the paddle board is that no part of you has to be in the water…unless you happen to pile four squirmy kids on the board with you like I did. Then the likelihood of going in the water increases dramatically.

Steph on paddleboard

Looking for sharks to smack in the nose with my paddle

The week passed far too quickly this year. I felt like I was just settling in and then it was time to go. Even though I live in Florida and can go to the beach anytime I want, I always feel such a sense of melancholy as I take that last sweep around the room to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything and stop to look out at the green water one last time.

It’s not just the beach and the water. It’s the family time, the long-time friends, it’s the tradition and the memories and the sense of belonging to a group and a place. I love it and look forward to it all year long. Commodore Beach Club, Madeira Beach, Florida, for life.

Beautiful sunset

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7 thoughts on “Family Beach Week

  1. Stephanie,, I loved your delightful article about Beach Week on Maderia Beach! We all had such a wonderful time.. And for us seeing all of our Florida cousins is a treat! We love your family!
    Thanks for sharing… So glad you didn’t have to slap down any great whites!! Ha!

  2. Steph, that was beautiful. As we grow older, we all seem to learn how wonderful the past was. Hope is applying it to the future.

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