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The Family Vacation and Why it’s OK to have Matching Shirts

Every year my parents (Mom and Step-dad) plan a huge family vacation, where myself and each of my siblings, as well as all five of my step-siblings (and their families) are invited to spend part of the week together. Today happens to be the day where everyone packed up and hit the road for this year’s trip, but because of taking other vacation time earlier this month, I was unable to make the journey this time.

This was a few years ago, and my parents are always good sports for any silly photo-op, which is one of the best parts of the trip every year.

This year, I’m actually a little disappointed at not being able to go, even though it’s to the same place every year (Branson. MO), and we’ve seen most of the “big” attractions available in that area. The trip is something I look forward to most years, as it’s one of the few times when I can actually spend time with this part of my family.

The head count of the group usually tops off around 30-35 people, as my step-siblings each have children of their own and my Grandma and one of my aunts usually come along. Over the years, the trip has gone from being one that is an equal balance of my Mom’s kids and my Step-dad’s kids, to where it’s mostly just his kids (and their spouses and children) that go.

Last year, I felt a little like the odd man out, as my brother brought his fiance (he proposed on the way there, and now they are married), my little sister had a friend go along, and each of the steps are married, so their spouses were present. Instead of letting the fact that I didn’t have a “buddy” get to me, I used the time to catch up on some reading at the pool, and spent some quality time getting to know my step-sisters better.

Despite being in very different places in our lives, my step-sisters (all three of them) and I were able to find something in common and they always tried to include me in the fun. Mixed drinks definitely helped with this. 🙂

About half of the group at a water park.

I do feel the need to make a smallish confession about the family vacation: we happen to have matching shirts advertising our family vacation, and there’s usually one day of the trip where everyone wears them.

At first, the matching shirt idea seemed pretty obnoxious, and everyone kind of made fun of them. It wasn’t until we all donned the bright blue “Join the Family” shirts and headed out together that people started to be on board with the shirts.

That first year of the shirts, we had planned on going to Silver Dollar City, which we knew was going to be crowded as it’s one of the biggest attractions in Branson.

We had about 16 adults and 12 kids with us, so the shirts definitely came in handy.

At one point in the day, a couple of the boys (they were 13-14 at the time I think) separated from the group, but because of the matching shirts, my Grandma Rose was able to easily spot them in a crowd and quickly called them out on their disappearing act.

Without the shirts, who knows how much trouble they could have gotten into… or how long they would have remained “missing”? While they are a little silly, the matchy-matchy shirts do serve some purpose– other than making everyone in the group look a little ridiculous.

And, even though we are definitely a blended family with all types of personalities, interests and opinions, having the shirt that identifies you as belonging to this crazy bunch is something that can make even the most socially awkward group member feel more at ease about possibly standing out.

Does your family ever plan big trips like mine (with or without the matching shirts)? And if you’ve also been subjected to a family vacation with the shirts, I’d love to hear if you think they are useful or just silly.

Responses (2)

  1. Jo Bohnenstiehl says:

    Katy I am sorry you couldn’t make it this year.
    Everyone is asking where you are so I know
    You are missed. I think our group likes the shirts
    as the teenage boys who have outgrown
    their shirts have asked me to order new ones for them. I will be placing an order for t shirts before
    next years trip.

  2. […] didn’t make the normal family vacation trip, or go anywhere more exotic than a quick trip to the beach in Florida with my mom, but I […]

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