April and I, her parents, my parents, my brother and his girlfriend Sam all spent this past week in the town of Duck, NC, which is on the outer banks. We all went in together to rent a big house that's about 100 yards from the beach and lived the lazy life this week - sleeping however much we wanted, sitting on the beach, eating good food, playing Extreme Uno, and singing along to my brother playing Bob Dylan songs on his guitar. Here's a map I made that tries to detail the vacation and the traveling that we all did.
My family came to the outer banks for summer vacations when I was young. I remember flying kites, building sandcastles, body surfing in the ocean, and the time when I fell face-first into a sand dune and had to go to the emergency room to get the sand out of my eyes. It's been so long since I've been there that it wasn't very familiar to me anymore.
April and I realize that we are blessed to have a family that is able to do something like this together. Many of our friends have reacted with surprise that we are brave enough to travel with both sets of parents for an entire week. It makes me proud of my family - I realize just how accepting and loving they have always been to any of the crazy friends that I have brought around throughout my years of growing up. I hope that April and I can have that same kind of warmth as we invite people into our homes and our lives.
This week also made me very thankful that I married into a wonderful, loving family. People are always joking about how painful it is to be around their in-laws - I have the completely opposite experience. I always enjoy the time I spend with April's parents, and I feel very comfortable with them.
Don't get me wrong - our families both definitely have their issues. But I feel like it is the exception rather than the rule today to have families that can overcome differences and overlook and forgive hurts and annoyances to come together and truly enjoy being related and spending time together. I am thankful to have two great examples of healthy, loving families as we grow and try to establish our own.
April, my mom, and Mabel on the beach.
April, her parents, and me on the ferry to Ocracoke.