For as long as I can remember vacation has been part of my families’ annual calendar. As a child with my parents, and then as a parent with my children, the Sinclair tribe has driven, flown, trained, bussed and cruised to many special destinations in the States and beyond to enjoy time away from work and the routine. We have slept in tents, under the stars, in rustic cabins, smelly trailers, Motel 6’s and Five Star Hotels on lumpy cots, comfortable enormous beds, car backseats and hard floors. We have visited aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, best friends, cousins and best of all, grandparents.
The family vacation has been significant to the Sinclair family because it has afforded us the opportunity to experience new things, test our limits, learn about the history of a place and its people, and expand our world view. Most of all, it has given us a safe and protected space, as a family, to create a memory. Memories, not so much of what we saw, or what we did, but memories of our time together, our laughter, our excitement, and of how we felt, or what we experienced as a family.
I am amazed and grateful for all of the special places far from home, that we were able to visit, the people we have met and the unusual things that we were able to do on a limited budget. This causes me to think about the vacation memories that we created visiting local places and doing things that were not so unusual. Vacation memories of playing board games late into the evening, taking a walk at a local park, catching fire flies in the yard, hanging with a neighbor, singing crazy songs at the top of our lungs, and of course, cooking hot dogs and hamburgers on the deck. Yes, travelling to a faraway place was spectacular but the back yard or the local park was no less spectacular, because being with the family is about as good as it gets.
For some of the children and families and seniors that participate in the Friends Program taking a vacation to a faraway place might not be possible for a variety of reasons. But the faithful volunteers and generous donors of the Friends Program do something that matches any vacation to a faraway place. They enter into the lives of those we serve making everyday events like going to the park, or providing transportation, or visiting a local museum, or just listening to music together, nothing short of spectacular. And let’s not forget those that offer time to mentor children, help seniors struggling with food insecurity and ensure that families in crisis have shelter. These compassionate gestures are things that families do for one another as they spend time together. Being with family, and I include the Friends Program family, is about as good as it gets.