mayacama mama

Our Family Trip to Hilton Head

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Our view from the octagonal house we rented on Deer Island.

It’s been two weeks now since we returned from our family trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Now that we’re back in the thick of living ordinary life, when the last vestiges of summer vacation have dissolved, I need to look at these photos to remember that summer feeling that I remember experiencing as a child.  Remember that feeling of summer when you didn’t have schoolwork and the only thing on your mind was having fun and enjoying yourself? I felt that “summer feeling” while in South Carolina.  Anyone who travels with young children knows it’s not all fun and games on vacation, the same parental duties required at home are required on vacation, BUT this vacation was different.  I felt my whole body settling in and relaxing, enjoying the views, the good food, the company of my family.

Last week I was reading Gary Morland’s July reflection on “rest” on, and it got me thinking about my family.  He reflects on how Jesus, the Christ child, was born from a dysfunctional lineage.  If you haven’t read the Old Testament, just start in Genesis and you’ll understand what he means.  Jesus’ ancestral family wasn’t perfect.  But Morland writes–look at what God does with his family, couldn’t he do the same with yours?  I don’t know about your families, well some of you I do, but mine isn’t perfect.  We have our tense moments, our arguments, our yelling and shouting.  We had that on vacation, too, but something was different this time around.  I really enjoyed my time with my parents and my sister and her family.  I can’t speak for them, but it feels like something shifted.  I know I’ll never see things through the same eyes as my mom, dad, or sister, (and you, little brother who didn’t join us) but I can be present and really listen to them.  I can rest in our imperfections as a family. Reminds me a bit of what it’s like on the yoga mat.  I’m not a yoga instructor, but my experience of doing yoga is that sometimes I have to let go and rest in the uncomfortableness and awkwardness of certain yoga postures or asanas.  I just have to breathe through the pose and accept that maybe it doesn’t look perfect, but it’s my body doing its best in this moment. And perhaps the same is true for my family. We’re doing the best that we’re able to do in this moment.  And I think maybe that will be enough for us to share more time together on another vacation even with our imperfections.

And now a few photos of our trip.

The cousins

The cousins

My favorite photo of our whole trip is this photo with Zoey and her cousins Kylie and Nicole.  I loved seeing them run around together and give group hugs and kiss one another.  It was the sweetest thing.

A view from below of the octagonal house we rented.

A view from below of the octagonal house we rented.


A blurry but cute photo of Zane with his daddy.

Zane was a real trooper and didn’t fuss too much on our trip while we dragged him from house to beach to restaurant to petting zoo to miniature golf.  I think he just liked to people watch and see new sights.

The beach at Sea Pines before our view was obscured by beach umbrellas and chairs.

The beach at Sea Pines before our view was obscured by beach umbrellas and chairs.

This was my first time visiting South Carolina, and I think I am in love with their beaches–or at least the Hilton Head Sea Pines beach because that’s really the only one we saw.  The water was so warm–I could not get enough of it. As a California girl, I’ve never really taken to dipping my whole body into the cold Pacific ocean (no, I can’t swim which is why I wrote “dipping”–pathetic, I know–a whole other blog post about my inability to swim). Although it was always crowded at the beach, except for the early morning hours, the beach was really lovely.


Sadly, I do not have a photo of the alligator we saw in the pond near the house my sister and brother-in-law were renting.  Nor do I have a clear photo of the shy crabs that scuttled across the boardwalk that led to our rental house. Instead–just a photo of a deer.

IMG_0402While working at the VA Hospital in Los Angeles as a palliative care social work fellow, I was introduced to the poems of Mary Oliver by one of the palliative care physicians there.  Here’s one she liked to read to us–one that is very meaningful when you’re young yet standing beside those at the end of their life. I need this reminder, too that life is what we make of it.

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

Author: Jessica Adriance Cowan

I'm a wife, mama of a daughter and son, a lover of writing, and budding herbalist.

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