Vacations, family and politics

Every summer my grandparents rent a house on the family’s favorite beach BeachHouse07and their children and grandchildren spend a week enjoying the sand, water and each other’s company.

It’s the highlight of my family’s summer–a relaxing couple of days that we eagerly anticipate every year.  Long walks on the beach, twenty aunts, uncles and cousins riding the waves together on a particularly windy August day, congregating on the beach to watch the magnificent sunset every evening, sunburns and sandy grapes.

The one challenge is, as always, managing family politics.  My own family doesn’t always fit in with our extended family: we homeschool(ed), we’re conservative, we’re evangelical Christians, there’s ten of us (plus in-laws and grandchild) and we’re not afraid to voice our opinions or stand our ground.  Sometimes it feels like the only thing we have in common with our extended family is our Irish/Italian ancestry.

However, my grandparents instilled in all of their children an appreciation of and love for family.  Now their children are passing that heritage down to the grandchildren.  So while we don’t always get along (and we have a litany of topics we generally try to avoid), we do enjoy our times together and we love family memories and traditions.

It’s a great experience and I’ve even come to enjoy and appreciate the challenge of maneuvering family politics…most of the time.  It takes skills to be able to totally disagree with someone you love on matters that are vitally important to you while still maintaining a workable relationship with them.  Lots of skills.

But family is totally worth that effort and I’m grateful to be part of a family that stays together despite their differences.  I’m grateful for the heritage my grandparents have given us of a loving family.

I will, however, be packing my beach bag this year with the latest facts and data on the government health care plan.  I like to come prepared…

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