Every year we pack the car full of groceries, clothes, life jackets, kids, and sunblock and head north to the Jersey Shore to spend time with my family.
Things have changed a lot since I was a child vacationing in the same place: The houses have air conditioning, the low rent surf shops have given way to fancy dress shops. But there's also a lot that hasn't changed. There's still mini-golf, 50 flavors of ice cream, and pizza on every corner.
When the kids were little, the term "vacation" really didn't fit. Between packing and unpacking the car and the beach bag, not to mention the balled up wet sandy bathing suits that seemed to be mating and multiplying, there seemed to be more work than play.
But these days, as my kids are getting older, there is more playing and relaxing. In short, the "vacation" is finally living up to its name. We spend our days swimming, kayaking, reading and wandering through the little beach town. Each day ends with ice cream; each night with Monopoly.
"Should we rent a different house next year or stick with the the one we have always had?" I asked my younger daughter.
"The same, Mommy," she replied without hesitation.
"Because that's where our memories are."
"Ah, that's right. So we're making memories, are we?"
"Yes, didn't you know that?"
I had hoped this was the case. It's nice to have it confirmed.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.