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Summer's Smiles

We asked one of the hardest working folks we know to write a little something about summer vacation, as a follow-up to our "Top 10 Grommets for Fun in the Sun".  Christine Koh is the founder and editor of Boston Mamas, the designer behind Posh Peacock, and she writes a personal blog at Pop Discourse. Christine is also a former Grommet video guest -- and we will forever be grateful to her for some early feedback on Daily Grommet.

by Christine Koh of Boston Mamas

Vintage bike on beachGiven that my parents worked to support seven kids through a business that required long, tireless hours, summer vacations weren't an option; at most our family made a day trip or overnight to my parents' rental property in Duxbury, MA when it wasn't occupied. The house wasn't fancy, and it was nowhere near beachside, but those memories are bliss. I still can envision the loose, broad smiles on my parents' faces as they waded into the ocean (I had never seen them so relaxed), the thrill of jumping through big waves (never mind that my ridiculous child bikini top usually was hanging around my neck afterwards), and my siblings and I brushing sand from our feet before we all piled into the two-toned green van to head home.

How different these memories are from our summer vacations of current. The last two summers Jon, Laurel, and I have been privy to the immense generosity of two sets of friends; vacationing in gorgeous beachside homes on Cape Cod and in Maine. With only one child and better financial and logistical flexibility, we've never questioned the idea of taking time off to enjoy the luxury of friends, nature, relaxation, and piles of great food. And few things tug my at my heart like seeing Laurel splashing gleefully in the pool or ocean (that loose, broad smile looks awfully familiar) or squishing her toes in the sand while collecting beach treasures. I feel so lucky and grateful to have these moments with my daughter, yet at times I also have felt guilt over how much my parents struggled to support their brood, and of the luxury of our summer vacations compared to those day trips to Duxbury.

What I have come to realize, however, is that ultimately it doesn't matter where you go, how long you're there, how posh the surrounds, or how close the beach. So long as you're together as a family, and in a situation that conjures those loose, broad smiles, the rest is just icing on the cake.

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  • Barbara Says:

    This post hits home for me because I can totally relate. My parents were incredibly loving, but they did work SO HARD. I treasure -- and I do mean TREASURE -- the memories of our camping trips to the beach each summer. We were all together, and my mom actually sat down and relaxed sometimes. At home, she never stopped. And, what joy it was to see a loose, broad smile on <i>her face</i>. I also like that this post reminded me that I may not show my own loose, broad smile enough to my children. Thanks for the lovely thoughts, Christine.

  • Linda Says:

    Christine, my parents used to take us to Nantasket beach for day trips. Later that night we would go to Paragon Park, the amusement park across the street. We thought we were in heaven!! I can totally relate to your story. It made me smile and remember to always be grateful. Thank you!

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