Updated: Jun 25
Father’s Day is so hard for me. I lost my Dad about 6 years ago so today, I wanted to share about the men in my life and the vacations we have taken over the years. These are memories I will always have.
I‘m going to start with my Dad. My Dad was a very quiet man. He didn’t fight and he never yelled. He was laid back. My Son Andrew reminds me of him so much. I never had to wonder if my dad loved me even if he didn’t say it. I think it was the military in him not to share his feelings. I am the only child my parents had and I couldn't do any wrong in my dad’s eyes. He went to every football game I cheered at or marched in during band.
When I was younger, we took a vacation for 2 weeks every year. It was usually in the Fall because my Dad raced cars in the summer just like my husband and son do now. Sometimes, we went to Tennessee and once we went to Disney and Cocoa Beach. That was the vacation I remember the most. It was many firsts for me. The first time I had been to Florida and the first time on a plane. My dad let me sit by the window and he sat in the middle even if his legs were too long and he didn’t have much room. I was amazed by the headphone jack in the arm of the seat and I could listen to the radio.
We stayed at Dixie Landings the first month it was open at Disney. You probably know it as Port Orleans Riverside. To a 10 year old, it was big and beautiful and I was so excited just to be there. We were staying at Disney a week and then going to Cocoa Beach for another week. My mom had high blood pressure so she didn’t ride any attractions with me but that didn’t stop my dad from riding with me. I even got him on Space Mountain. Eventually, we started park hopping and just let the rest of the family do their own thing.
We had a non park day and had some time to fill. At Dixie Landings, you could rent a boat and go out on the waterways at Disney so that’s what dad did. He rented a speed boat. My Dad had grown up on the Ohio River so he was used to handling a speedboat.
We went everywhere we could in that boat. We even went to Pleasure Island where they held a New Years Eve party each night. I was simply amazed at all the confetti left on the ground from the night before. We spent the whole day out; just him and I. I remember sitting in the open section of the boat right in front of where my dad was driving. Little did I know that that spot would be where I sat when my husband and I bought our own boat. It was a vacation with my Dad I would never forget.
When I was an adult, my Mom and Dad divorced. By then, I was married and had moved to Kentucky so my dad moved to Kentucky too. I’m so grateful for all the time my dad spent with my kids. If it hadn’t been for my dad, I never would have met my husband. The summer after my dad passed away, my husband ran my his number for the race season.
Next up is my Grandfather. My Grandpa is 90 years old and you would never know it by looking at him. He keeps going and doing stuff and that keeps him living. Every time I call, he is talking about going night fishing with my cousin’s husband. He is bigger than life and I’m so lucky to still have him around.
Growing up, I was the only Grandchild on my Mom’s side of the family. To say I was spoiled would be an understatement. Every vacation I took with my grandparents, I was allowed to bring a friend. I alternated between my friend Amanda and my friend Laura. In fact, they both called him grandpa. We had so many vacations to Tennessee every summer. My fondest memory with my grandpa was when we were staying in a hotel In Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We were hanging out in the pool for the day and my grandpa decided to join Laura and I. He asked me how many steps it was into the pool. I couldn’t remember so I said there were two. He looked at Laura and asked her but she said the same thing. Well, there were three steps, not two. He hit the bottom step thinking he was hitting the bottom of the pool! His eyes got big and he fell straight into the pool. After making sure he didn’t drown, we started cracking up laughing. We were laughing so hard we were crying simply because of the look on his face. We had so many funny moments on our vacations.
When I grew up and got married, we started going on vacation with them. Usually it was for a long weekend since we live so close to Tennessee. Now, my kids have those memories with my grandpa as well. I have not seen him since Christmas because of Covid but he can’t wait to get our to the race track and watch my husband race.
Now to my husband! My two oldest are not his children biologically but you would never know it. Jenny was three when we started dating and Andrew was just a baby. He took to those kids like he had been in their life from the beginning. 2 years after we were married, Miss Abby came along.
When we first got married, we really couldn’t afford to go on vacation except for a long weekends to Tennessee. Chris was the only one working and I was still in college. Those long weekends were so much fun though.
After I graduated from college and worked in my career for a while, we were finally able to take longer vacations. Sometimes it was to Tennessee or to Lake Cumberland but we did go. He hated it at first. He hated spending all that money but he never really went on Vacation when he was a kid. The only one he remembers is a trip to Daytona.
Now our vacation spots alternate. One summer we go to Myrtle Beach and a year ago we went to Disney. Last year we did a Disney Cruise and then went to Disney for a week. It was the longest vacation we have ever taken but it was worth it.
Most of the time you will notice my Nephew Jake in our pictures. He is just like another son to us. Chris treats Jake like his a son and not his nephew. I don’t know a man who would take on not two but three kids that are not his but treat them like they are. I think I got lucky with that.
Since Covid hit, we have had to cancel one vacation. In three weeks, we are leaving for Myrtle Brach for a week and he keeps telling me how excited he is. Every time he says it, I just think about how he use to complain about going on vacation.
I don’t have just one memory that stands out with my husband and my kids. Back up!! Yes I do. It was the first time we went to Disney World as a family. I planned everything down to the last second making sure everything was perfect. The first morning, waking up at Disney, we were up at 7:30 AM. The kids were still sleeping so we let them sleep for another hour. To wake them up, Chris started jumping on the bed yelling “wake up, we are at Disney." He kept telling his mom on the phone how great a job I did planning the trip. That’s when the light bulb went off and I decided I wanted to plan other people’s trips.
Our vacations are always fun with the kids. We laugh so much and it’s nice to just be able to relax and do nothing for a change. A few times, we've actually gone on vacation on Father’s Day. It’s memories my kids will be telling their kids when they are older.
Happy Father’s day to all you Dad’s out there. Make those memories with your kids. They will thank you later.
As always, See You Real Soon!