It has become our family tradition.
Every Memorial Day weekend we make the trip from near or far, gathering together at my family’s beach house in Ocean City, NJ. My sister and her fiancé, her best friend who I’ve known since birth and is like a second sister to me, new friends and old friends who come and go throughout the weekend, my Dad, and in recent years my stepmom and her family. The weekend has seen different relationships and significant others over the years. But the house has stayed the same, and the sense of peace it brings me every time I pull into the driveway will never go away – it only seems to get stronger with time.
I’m not the type of person to stay in one place. I get restless. I have a tendency to pick up my life and move on a whim, most recently to Austin. After spending this past weekend with my favorite people in the world at our beach house, it was more difficult than ever to say goodbye. I found myself questioning my decisions, asking why I do this to myself… move halfway across the country, disappear for long periods of time, escape into the vast wide open that is life on this huge planet. Over the years, the concept of home has become more and more distant. The house I grew up in is now someone else’s home, the neighborhood in Philadelphia where I spent a solid chunk of time (5 years is a long time for me), feels foreign to me now. There’s no touch point, no place I can call my own there.
But in Ocean City, in this house, with these people… that is something that I will hold on to forever. My soon to be brother in law put it into perspective well on the morning I left, when he, my sister, and I took a walk down to the beach one last time. Being away from your “home,” wherever or with whomever it may be, only makes it that much more special when you’re there. If I stayed, if I kept myself from following that feeling in my gut, I may not appreciate it as much as I do now – I may even resent it. We’re so lucky to have this place, and this love that we feel when we’re all together. I’m ok with being away from it for a while, with the knowledge that every once in a while I get to experience pure magic.
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