I love the ocean. I don't know why since I get sea sick so easily and I hate to swim where I can't see the bottom, and I don't particularly enjoy seafood - but there is a calming affect on my soul when I am near one. I am drawn to the beauty of the expanse, and the playful water's edge. I love the rhythm and regularity of the waves. I love to walk along the beach and get sand between my toes. I love to snorkel among fish and crawling things and thrill at the discovery of a whole different world below the surface. I love to bask in the soft light of sunsets and sunrises over immense ocean skies. Such moments bring me solace and peace.
Family vacations bring a different kind of solace - of being and coming together and bonding as a family in ways that only new settings facilitate as we remove ourselves from the routine, of creating fond memories that will be reflected upon for generations, of healing the stress and pain of everyday life, of marking accomplishments made and celebrating new beginnings for the future. This summer brings a particular change to our family dynamics as three of the four will be "leaving the nest" and making us almost, but not quite empty nesters this fall. And so, this family time was particularly meaningful.
Family vacations and oceans together should bring an abundance of solace. In many ways, it has. But with some ocean beaches, particularly sub-tropical ones that are frequented by our gay brothers in quantities of lovely couplehood, come an abundance of delicious eye candy and temptations - triggering desires and thoughts and wishes for something else, a longing for what one cannot have (or what one has chosen to not have), a hope for some reconciliation of unfulfilled needs, a constant reminder that no matter how peaceful the surroundings, nor how wonderful the family time, nor how binding the bonding, nor how memorable the memories, the internal and lonely struggle continues on.
I'm not saying this is unique in any way to me (we all go through it) - just making the observation... It doesn't have to be this way, but I have chosen it to be this way. And as much as I envy and long and desire that which I "cannot" have, I am content with my choice and I'll sit back and soak in the memory of the family togetherness, the expansive ocean sky, and the beautiful eye candy as I try to heal my aching sunburned shoulders...