by Mark Timm, CEO Ziglar Family
Last week was my wife, Ann’s, 40th birthday.
I wanted to make this milestone as memorable and special for her as possible, so I invited her to choose whatever she would like to do, and I’d make it happen. Ann decided she wanted to go to Destin, Florida, rent a place, and have no special plans whatsoever.
Here’s the thing: none of that computes with me.
I’m not a beach guy, and I always have a lot of plans… but you only turn 40 once, so I said, “You’ve got it! Let’s do it!”
As it turned out, our kids had their fall break the same week, so it was actually perfect timing for a family getaway.
Now, I don’t know about you, but for us, six kids in the car together for 12+ hours is not the most relaxing way to start a vacation. I expected it to be brutal, and I was pretty much dreading the drive, hoping to just get it out of the way with the least amount of stress possible.
But I had forgotten one small fact that turned out to make a huge difference: for the first time ever, we had five people in the car that could drive, so we were able to break the drive up into shifts. I took the early morning shift, then Ann drove, then two of our sons — by the time we arrived it literally was the smoothest trip I think we’ve ever taken!
We settled into our rental, ready to start the week with… absolutely no plans. What? A family vacation with nothing planned? Who does that?
Us, apparently… and like I said, it definitely goes against my nature! But this was Ann’s birthday trip, so what Momma wants, Momma gets.
Let me just give you a snapshot of what Ann’s birthday looked like:
We started the day off on the beach with a pretty spectacular sunrise. Then the family cooked and ate breakfast together, relaxed together, laughed together, sang together, built sandcastles together, and were silly together. We enjoyed homemade desserts, and had a little bit of fun teasing Mom about being so “old” now. Ok…. we actually had a lot of fun teasing Mom!
In fact, the rest of the week looked pretty much the same:
We hung out, just enjoying each other, spending time at the beach alternately relaxing, boogie-boarding, and building more sandcastles. On our last night there, all six kids were outside for the beautiful sunset, the best way to end our time there.
So, why am I sharing this with you? It’s not to give you a “what I did on my family vacation” report, but more to invite you to consider this:
Sometimes those things that we expect the least from are the things that give us the most joy, and if we don’t open ourselves to those opportunities… well, what a loss!
We’ve done a lot of vacations as a family, gone a lot of places, done a lot of things, and I will be the first to admit that I really did not see this trip working, with us traveling to the beach and just doing nothing.
I was wrong.
It was one of the best family vacations we’ve ever had. I think I speak for the entire family when I say that nobody wanted to leave.
If I have any regret in my life, it’s that when days like these happen, I forget to stop and just capture them.
It’s not that we don’t have good days — we certainly do — but sometimes there are just those extra-special days where everybody gets along, everybody enjoys each other, everybody loves each other as a family, and we go to bed just feeling so blessed and so satisfied to be on this Earth, and to be the parents of crazy, chaotic teenagers, or kids, or whatever the circumstance may be.
That’s the true sign that something was done right, even if it wasn’t — or maybe especially because it wasn’t — planned.
Have you had the experience of making lasting memories or finding joy with your family where you least expected it? Share your story below!