As an only child, I always hoped I wouldn’t marry a fellow one. I wished for a brother or sister, nieces, and nephews. Fortunately, I married Brian, the youngest of six children, all of which are married with children of their own. Needless to say, there is no shortage of “siblings,” nieces, and nephews in my life today.
Each year, my husband’s family enjoys the week of July 4th together on the lake. We’ve been to the beach and the mountains, but finally settled on Crooked Lake in Angola, Indiana. The 7-bedroom, 5-bathroom house is a retreat from real-life.
This annual vacation is the foundation of this family. With seven families around Ohio out to Iowa, it’s one of few times during the year that all 24 of us are together. Here are some of my favorite things about this week:
1. The sound of “Aunt Shannon” is still music to my ears, even after eight years.
2. Food. Lots and lots of food. My mother-in-law is an excellent cook. She makes the best macaroni salad ever, period. And my father-in-law is a grill master. We spend this week eating all day, every day.
3. With 10 kids under the age of 9, there isn’t a boring moment between swimming, building sand castles, riding on Grandpa’s boat, fishing, etc. I am so excited for Bridget to get to experience these with her cousins each year.
4. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, to do in Angola, Indiana. This may not appeal to many, but I hold a sense of obligation to experience what cities have to offer when I travel. Since there is nothing to experience, I can count on a relaxing week enjoying family, reading, and consuming delicious food and a few adult beverages…makeup free!
5. I get to spend all day, each day with Brian. In this unfair society of getting only 2-3 weeks of vacation a year, I savor seven full, uninterrupted days with my husband, and now our daughter.
6. No cell phone signal means no Facebook, Pinterest, or email for a full week. Yes!
7. We’ve gone from soaking up the sun all afternoon at the sandbar and staying up late every night playing Kings to arranging days based on naptimes and bedtimes. The dynamic keeps changing which makes each year different.
8. Observing Brian with his brothers and sisters always makes my heart smile. I’ve never known siblings to enjoy each others’ company as much as this family. Whether they’re reminiscing with old stories or playing euchre, the house is full of laughter.
9. The lake house is a quick and easy three-hour drive west. There are no wasted days in the car on this vacation.
10. While the idea of vacationing to a new destination each year is great, there is something to be said about knowing that we’ll be back to do it all over again the next year.