Our family vacation each year was a ten-day trip to Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We used to stay in my Grandaddy’s trailer down there. It was tight living quarters for ten days-we were literally on top of one another, but we didn’t care. Jamie and I usually both took a friend-one friend a piece. So, one bedroom, a set of bunk beds and a pull-out couch hosted the six of us. We didn’t spend that much time there other than sleeping and eating. We took showers and stuff at the bath houses. It really wasn’t that bad for a free place to stay.
Before the pavilion was torn down, we always managed to squeeze in a night to go there. Jamie and I rode the Hurricane, which was a wooden rollercoaster, twenty-two times. TWENTY-TWO! By the time we left to go to the board walk to eat, I could barely stand up straight my insides were all haywire and it felt like I was still riding the ride well after I had eventually gone to bed that night.
When Dad stayed for vacation and didn’t leave to “go back to work” aka meet up with his girlfriend of the week, vacation was a blast. Dad had no limit of what we could do or how much we could spend. Whatever Jamie and I wanted to do, we did. We went deep-sea fishing, shopping, to the water park, to the pavilion, out to eat, all sorts of stuff.
If he did leave, we still had a blast, I could just sense my mom stressing. He’d take off, take the suburban and leave her with us four kids plus our bikes in her old beat up GNC Jimmy that we had to pack in like sardines to get home. Not to mention, the last day was cleaning day, and mom cleans better when there are no kids to get in her way. So usually dad would take us off and entertain us for a few hours while she cleaned. But, when he’d take off, she had to worry about feeding us and making sure we went off and did something to stay out of her hair.
Sometimes when he stayed, though, it was almost better for me if he had left. He always did this weird thing where he treated our friends more like they were his kids rather than Jamie and me. I used to get so jealous. He would give all this attention to my friends and wouldn’t give me the time a day usually. It infuriated me and I didn’t understand. It didn’t help that my friends thought he was this super cool dad. He ate that up!
I was used to not getting the attention I wanted and could overlook it around him and everyone else. Except mom-she always knew and could see right past my shrug offs. But it wasn’t always bad. When things were good, they were REAL good. He definitely knew how to have a good time.
What this has taught me in life is that, whenever there is good, there is bad and whenever there is bad there is good. They go hand in hand. You can’t expect one without the other. If you didn’t know what sad was, how would you know what happy is and vice versa. Sometimes you just have to take the bad with the good. But you can always choose to remember the good over the bad.
And that is what I’m trying to do. My childhood wasn’t peachy. There were some rough patches. For a long time, I was so mad at my dad I only remembered the bad stuff to fuel my own resentment towards him. But, my un-forgiveness towards him only hurt me, not him. So, I’m trying to remember all the good times. Afterall, the sky really was the limit when we were having fun.