Being a good host is an art, of which my sister and soon-to-be husband are masters. They made me feel special, remembering my quirks of loving greek yogurt and rooibus tea. We went out for a fabulous dinner at Hooked in Ocean City (http://hookedoc.com/), and then returned home and spent time looking at the stars, while drinking B&B in the hot tub, which kept the chill in air at bay.
We spent Saturday shopping and having a lovely lunch on the bay, then relaxed and cooked dinner in the afternoon, wrapping up happy hour with another dip in the hot tub, wine in hand as we watched the sun set.
My sister lives in the same town as my parents had lived for many years after leaving Pittsburgh. It was the first time down there since my mom had died, and felt a little strange as I turned onto Rt. 589, and saw all the familiar landmarks that would signal to my kids that we were almost at "Nana & Poppy's".
My parents had a great house down there. Their bedroom was on the first floor and the second floor was ours when we stayed. Upstairs were 3 huge bedrooms. The best part of the design was that they had two separate toilet and sink rooms, with cubbies built into the wall for your toiletry kits and then there was a separate shower room. It gave lots of flexibility when it was a full house. There are so many good memories for my kids in that house...they loved going to see Nana and Poppy. We'd race go carts, and play miniature golf. Once we went to "Frontier Town", a very hokey western themed park that was a riot.
At Christmas, Santa would stop by the house (thanks to the local fire department) and we'd go see the Christmas light display on the boardwalk. One year, we attended midnight mass in the old chapel in Ocean City. It was very quaint but Bobby, who was three, kept asking where the baby Jesus was (as we had told him he'd be there in the manger). Then, during the overly lengthy sermon, he kept asking, "who is that man and why is he talking so much?" Obviously, we hadn't taken this kid to church enough! Fortunately, my mom agreed with his assessment, the priest was talking way too long!
Visits to family should make you feel good. After visiting my sister in Maryland and my brother in Pittsburgh, I feel coddled and loved and so relaxed. That's how we always felt after visiting my parents in Maryland.
We are so lucky that we get along as siblings. While I was with my sister, my two brothers were traveling together. We've made it through the death of our parents and division of the estate without any bitter feelings. If anything, we've grown closer. Another gift from our parents...