My sweet and cheerful brother showed up with his wonderful family, telling jokes, lending all sorts of beach equipment and cooking burgers and hot dogs for the entire family. A combination of people showed up for the July 4 holiday, and I cooked my daughter's favorite dish, chicken broccoli pasta, for everyone.
What's our goal?
I wasn't sure about my wishes for the trip other than showing my daughter my favorite places, having time with my mother and daughter, enjoying the beach with friends and family and getting some much-needed sleep. That seemed like enough.
By the last night of our trip, I realized I had found even more joy. I had seen most of the people and places I wanted to see and was at peace with those I hadn't. I actually wanted to go home to Atlanta, where I have a home and work I love and a chosen family of friends.
"I don't want to leave," my daughter whispered to me that night, fighting sleep and having to leave her San Diego cousins and new friends.
"That's the best kind of vacation," I whispered back.
That's what she always says before we leave a good vacation, and that's what I always reply. But this time, I added, "And we can come back."