When I was a kid, we always vacationed at the same spot. A little stretch of the stickiest sand ever, and beautiful blue-green water called South Padre Island. My mom's family had originally been from a town nearby, so as everyone moved away and raised families, they all would come back to that beach to meet up again. My childhood is filled with a blur of memories from that time. Sand, sea gulls, sunburn, tons of family, cousins, shells, trying to catch the minnows that you could see in the shallow waves, poking dead jellyfish with sticks, eating tamales made by a woman my grandmother was friends with. It was always a great time.
When I got a little older, my family had discovered a little secret. To go to the beach for Thanksgiving. Seems odd, but it's actually brilliant. Everyone wanted to get together for Thanksgiving, and meeting up at the beach had always been the thing to do. And the benefit? It is wicked cheap during the off season. Sure, sometimes it was still too cold to swim or anything, but there was plenty of other things to do. Fish, go watch the dolphins, take walks on the beach.
When I got married, they were still doing it. So we went too. In fact, that was the last thing everyone did together while everyone was still alive. I remember I was about to go into my 5th month of pregnancy with Ryan and I was still puking. Like, a lot. I remember puking into a plastic sack on the drive down there. But then, a curious thing happened. Over the course of our stay, my morning sickness went away. And it never came back.
The beach has a healing property for some people, me included. I think my husband can testify that I just become a different person down there. All stress just melts away. I feel at peace. Which is one reason I am so glad we are headed down there tomorrow as soon as we get the kids from school. This past year has been beyond stressful. I need some healing.
I can't believe how well it works. As we drive the (very very) very long drive down there, I feel the same. Until the point where we turn onto Highway 100. That is the last turn you take to get the island. I start to relax then. Then the excitement sets in when you get to the point where you get peeks of the bay through the scenery, and can see the tallest condos in the distance. And then, we hit the causeway, and that feeling of total peace sets in.
One theory I have is that my childhood wasn't exactly what I would call happy. The times I can actually remember feeling happy? Were always at the beach. That's where the happy memories are. And then now, with most of my family being gone, I don't really have a "home" I can go to. So maybe that is what SPI is for me. Even though I never actually lived there. Maybe it's home.
It will be good to go home.