The alone time at the beach is her father’s legacy

Traditions are so important. All families have them, and mine is no exception. Many of them are related to holidays, but there are certainly others, including vacations.

My father inadvertently created one back in 1986 when he announced to us that he had found a small, quiet beach that looked very nice – Nags Head, North Carolina. None of us had ever heard of him, and it was in the past days that the nickname OBX was created. My father chose a home near the ocean and bordering the Hatteras National Seashore to the south. It truly was peace incarnate.

Fast forward to last week when I was sitting on the shore of my favorite place, the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I realized how strong this connection with the past is for me. That beach, those waves, the Carolina sun—it’s all part of the very coast my father loved.

I can still see my dad walking towards me along the water’s edge, holding my mom’s hand, bending down every now and then to pick up an interesting shell for his home in the garden. He loved this place. And I love him for bringing me there for the first time, 36 years ago.

The one thing that really stands out in my precious memories is the joy on his face. His smile, his sparkling eyes… yes, he really loved the beach. But more than that, he loved his family. All together, surrounded by the love He inspired in all of us. We played beach volleyball, bocce and enjoyed the camaraderie when we were together as a family.

Now I understand that pure joy. Because you see, I am now the same age my father was when he first took us there. (I’ve always been a mathematician’s daughter!) It’s funny how your perception and paradigm change as you get a little older. I am no longer interested in surfing, night walks or big shopping trips. I enjoy watching my children and grandchildren laugh, splash and play. That, combined with a quiet and beautiful ocean, is everything I want in a vacation. It’s definitely a gift.

Twenty-four years ago, my husband and I got married on this beach, in a small chapel by the sea. Oh, what wonderful memories this place holds…it truly is my connection to the past. And now, when the two of us are looking at the ocean, the same ocean that we looked at so many years ago when we said “I do” and we watched the dolphins play in the waves, as they roll carelessly and playfully, it brings unprecedented happiness .

So, thank you, Dad, for bringing us here over 36 years ago and for starting this legacy of peace that we can now happily pass on not only to our children, but to their children as well. For now, we look forward to our annual hike and the family time we cherish so much. Someday, in a few years, we hope to maybe call this place home. It is possible.


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