DH and I have been spending a lot of our time at our local beaches. We live in a seaside town with lots of beach access and our beaches really are lovely.
This week is DH's vacation and we've decided to spend most of it at the beach - it's free, cool, and nearby - and nothing beats that, in my opinion. Plus, at the end of the day, the kiddles are pooped from swimming and being in the sun for just a few hours which gives us a nice rest at the end of the day. Tomorrow, we've invited my parents to come along and we're going to have a picnic lunch.
Anyway, my reason for talking about this isn't just to showcase our beautiful beaches (though I am quite proud of them) or to elaborate on the fun of each found seashell (though I assure you, I never get tired of the kids' excitement over their beach finds - I can ooh and ahh over wet, gray pebbles clenched in chubby fists all day long). Today, I was thinking back to a time in 2009 when NMIL made us a no-doubt strings-attached offer for a "little" vacation, so that "baby could see the beach" and so she'd have an opportunity to get her idea of family [read: anyone who would have brought drama to the trip] together. First of all, I hate that it's so hard to explain why a "simple" offer for a "nice family vacation" was such a heinous and disingenuous act, given how nothing in a narc's playbook is ever straight-forward. But secondly, I have such a feeling of pure joy that we don't have to deal with that shit anymore: that we don't have to worry about even considering whether or not we'll take up an offer for some shitty little vacation or day trip; that we don't have to exert any energy protecting our emotional well-being for the sake of preserving NMIL's constant lies. We will never again have to deliberate over whether or not to support her performance.
Every year, at beach time, I get this little stab of - I'm not even sure what to call it - satisfaction, triumph, justice, vindication - because we have our own beaches, we have our own vacations, and we're perfectly happy without NMIL's offers where the fine-print is in a language we don't understand. NMIL has money, and I've always thought that she figured waving it around in front of us (more specifically, waving it around in front of DH, who was trained to respond to that sort of thing) would be her winning hand. Really, that's all she ever had to offer: extravagant gifts that always came with a price I was never willing to accept.
That trip (which would have taken place in 2010) never happened, mostly because I was able to convince DH that the price we would have had to pay, on a "vacation" that was subtly offered to us as being "completely free" was (ironically enough) not worth it; but I have to say, it worked in our favor that NMIL's plan was so poorly conceived, it would have been nearly impossible for us to go with her anyway, even just logistically speaking. Bitch really shot herself in the foot. I've always guessed that NMIL knew right away that we weren't going to take her up on her offer, and I have to imagine that burned up her little control-loving biscuits. At any rate, it's almost like my enjoyment of the beach is now even more so, because I get that little tickle of glee in my gut at the simple thought that it's ours - that WE are our own and we don't have to share ourselves or stretch ourselves for anyone, let alone NMIL. I can enjoy the beach that much more, knowing that we are free.