Baseball. SPF 45. Lemonade. Bee stings. Corn on the cob. Sweat. Vacation.

Note from the Editor: It’s Dad Stalking Friday and Jeff @OWTK is talking about family vacation memories. I have many fond memories of the ice cream man and running out to meet the truck… burning my feet on the hot Phoenix street. Memories of my family heading out on our yearly road trip to Disneyland… And now I see my own children creating these same vivid summer memories. Except I’m yelling “Don’t forget your flip flops!” as they run out the door *squealing*. Keep reading to take a peek into the summer memories of an icky boy… now called, Dad. And read more of his stuff at Out With The Kids.

If you’re thinking summertime right about now, you’ve nailed it. Congratulations!

My gang of four finished up a 15-day jaunt in southern California early last month. On this epic 75-degree adventure, my wife and I conspired to create indelible memories for our daughters in San Diego (the famed Zoo, USS Midway aircraft carrier, gigantic county fair, strawberry & cream cheese stuffed French toast!) and in the L.A. area (Channel Islands hike, pool party with kindie musician friends, Mulholland Drive, Santa Barbara beach & carrousel, and Legoland!)

Our wonderful west coast journey got me thinking a lot about my own childhood vacation memories. I had enough downtime and, much to my surprise, quiet time in route to fun sights and new cities to remember multiple trips to the pink sands of Bermuda, that 3-game series at old Tiger Stadium in 1987 to watch my beloved Tigers in person for the first time, and the countless civil war battlefields my parents schlepped me around to feed my inner history buff. There are images, sounds, smiles, and smells burned into my brain – all wonderful memories of a time when I was the one being cared for, transported, and entertained.

Taking a coastal holiday as a family should fill young children’s hearts with joy and heads with sunny thoughts of crashing waves, toes buried in sand, ice cold milkshakes, and carrousel music. But woven into such sun-splashed pleasantry for us this summer were, as always, handfuls of tears, four letter words, and slamming doors.

Whether they have faded, been suppressed or were never there to begin with, there’s positively no negativity in my own decades-old internal slideshows. This gives me hope that what my wife and I are giving our daughters are entirely joyous experiences worthy of a romantically tight mental grip, that the senseless bickering and idiotic arguments that pop up when spending 360 consecutive hours together won’t prevent these glorious family moments from becoming cherished summer vacation memories.