15 people, 8 cars, 6 blow-up mattresses, home cooked meals every night, morning walks, reading books, family scrabble night, putting together a crazy puzzle, laying on the beach all day and playing cornhole is what our summer vacations look like these days. Each year, we jokingly say that Mom is slowly getting rid of our inheritance as our summer vacation is spent in the same house at Folly Beach. It’s the last house on one of the ends of the island with a beautiful sunset view over the marsh from the front porch or a sunrise view over the beach from the back porch. When our kids were young, we would always go to downtown Charleston and tour something new each year, but as they got older, they never wanted to leave the beach. However, now it has also become increasingly harder to get everyone together at the beach all at the same time. I am sure most of you understand that feeling. An accurate statement about our vacation is that we “do a whole lot of nothing” and there is never a scheduled time for anything- Just the way a vacation should be if you ask me.
A lot has changed over the years that we have been coming to Folly Beach. Grandparents and aunts that used to come have long passed, along with my dad who passed away years ago. When tragedy comes in a family, you always wonder what vacations will be like … of course, they are never the same. But, those memories will never pass and new ones are always going to be made. In our family like all others, there have been marriages, failed relationships, new friendships, and etc. But, the thing that has never changed is the closeness of our family. People have always told me that I was very blessed to have a family that continues to be together and grow together. We eat together every other Sunday (actually, Pam and I really never have to cook on Sundays. We take turns eating with her family and mine).
On this particular vacation last week, I walked up to the beach house to grab a hat and turned around and took the picture you see with this blog. At that moment … I said to myself, “yes I am blessed”. All of our immediate family was at the beach at the same time. Our Mom is 82 years old and I know that our years of beach trips at Folly with her are numbered. She has taught us the importance of “togetherness” and family. She is the centerpiece, the nucleus of the crazy Fralick family. She has provided places for us all to gather in the mountains and beach. She is happiest when we are all together. Her selfless love, giving spirit and sacrifice is a character trait I hope to acquire. I know that some families are not close. I understand things happen between brothers and sisters and even parents and their children. It has in our family, but what I have been taught my whole life and have grown to understand, is the importance of “Forgiveness”.
If your family has been torn apart, I pray that there is forgiveness that can somehow override all bitterness that may stand between the importance of family. I also pray that my Mom will be around to continually and slowly get rid of our inheritance … one family vacation at a time. And by the way, Mom and our step-dad Wayne won the cornhole championship.