My Week In Florida with Family.

2017 marked the 35th summer that the Jones family congregated on Lido Beach, in Sarasota Florida.

My father purchased the “dreaded” timeshare back in 1982 in hopes that it would give his children an excuse to get together one week out of the year to laugh, share memories and to simply enjoy each other’s company. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s we were lucky enough to share this opportunity. Each summer, we were joined by my father’s twin brother and his three children. We played volleyball, cards, talked, laughed and built memories that we reminiscence about fondly to this day. The bonds that were forged on the beach seem stronger than ever.

Then something happened, we all stopped going. Us Jones kids started graduating from High School, went to college, got married and life just seemed to get in the way. Lido Beach seemed like a distant, but fond memory.

Flash forward a decade or so, and the tradition was reborn. My mom and dad decided that they were coming back to the beach, with or without the kids. A year later, my dad’s brother agreed that it was time to return to the beach. He brought his kids with him, and by this time, my cousins had children of their own.

I began making the sporadic trip back to the beach in 2010, and I was instantly reunited with my extended family, and it gave us all an opportunity to share a laugh, make new memories and of course, rehash old ones from summers long gone. Slowly, but surely, my brother and sister returned to the fold with their children in tow. Seeing my niece and nephew and my cousin’s children reliving many of the experiences from my childhood, and forging those inseparable bonds with each other, reminded me of the importance of family year after year. When my dad’s twin brother passed away in 2016, I made the decision — I will never miss another summer in Florida.

The bonds that are forged throughout “Week 26” at Lido Beach are impossible to break. A new generation of kids grow up, the adults sprout a few more grays, and we all have a new ache or pain, but time stands still. The Jones family still goes to their favorite ice cream place on St. Armand’s Circle, we share at least one big meal together, we still love a good card game, and new memories are created while old one’s are revisited with warmth and affection. Some of us still take on the youngster in volleyball too.

My cousin and I were talking, and we hope for the day when our adult children help us walk out to Lido beach, take us to our favorite ice cream parlor, teach us a new card game, and remind us of that funny story from so many years ago; all while seeing our children and grandchildren forge the same bonds and create memories that we are all so fond of.

Here’s to another 35 years on Lido Beach.

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