Last-minute getaway a true gift

Several weeks ago my daughters came up with this crazy idea of all of us going to South Carolina for a family vacation. What's even more ridiculous, they wanted to leave in 12 days!

"Absolutely not"! I predictably replied. "How in the world do you think we could just pick up and leave on such short notice, especially in our current world"? But they were ready for me, complete with an impressive PowerPoint presentation, cost analysis and an arsenal of answers at the ready for my inevitable barrage of questions.

"We will stay away from everyone else. We will just go to the beach. We will eat in every night. We will drive straight there and straight back." They had all the bases covered.

I just rolled my eyes. They know that I am a master vacation planner. I've never gone anywhere in my life that didn't take at least 10 to 12 months of preparation. But in the back of my head, I couldn't help but wonder if we could actually pull it off. My business was very busy and my wife would have to try to get off of work. But my kids hadn't secured summer jobs yet and the odds of us being able to do this any other time were extremely slim.

Casually, I started looking for places to stay, certain nothing would be available on such short notice. Low and behold there were several rentals still open that could accommodate us. But would they be affordable? I reached out to the owners and was able to finagle a deal that I literally couldn't refuse.

"Should we really be doing this?" I asked my wife. She reminded me that at this point in our lives we thought family vacations were surely a thing of the past. If it was even remotely possible, we had to see if we could make it work.

Sure enough, a little more than a week later we found ourselves trucking 15.5 hours with a van full of who knows what, still reeling from the fact that it was actually happening. I recall sitting and eating pizza the night we arrived and smiling at my kids.

How in the world did we get here? Two weeks ago this wasn't even a topic of conversation!"

Needless to say, we had an awesome trip. It helped that the beaches were beautiful and the weather was gorgeous. But honestly, it wouldn't have made any difference where we were. The time spent with my family was the real treasure.

Who knows if or when we'll ever get a chance to do this again, but I'm just so thankful for the opportunity we had this year - and for my kids' persistence.

- John Bourjaily is a former contributing columnist. Readers can email him at [email protected].