As Piper and I chatted today about her first beach trip in May, I couldn’t help but recall the memorable moments from my own childhood trips to the sand and the sea.

Growing up, our entire family—grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins—would rent a large beachfront house in Garden City SC. It was perfect for my grandfather, whose favorite pastime was rocking on the back screened porch, taking in the salty spray of the ocean for all it was worth.

In the mornings, dad and I would sneak out early and hunt for shark’s teeth that had been stirred up and spit out overnight.

In the afternoons, we all hit the beach, jumped waves, and searched for seashells.

Evenings were always fun. Fresh seafood, putt-putt games, trips to the Yum-Yum ice cream shop (blue bubble gum with real chewy pieces churned inside out), numerous rounds of set-back (card game), and unending laughter. As an only child, this was the only time of year I felt more like Cindy on the Brady Bunch.

Although I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, having an extended family made me feel loved and a part of something much bigger.

Our family isn’t as large now, but I look forward to introducing Piper to the yearly “Scott” beach trips I’ve enjoyed all my life and carrying on the tradition of lots of fun in the sun (with 50 SPF zinc-oxide protection, of course).

Let us savor these moments with our families, for they will emerge as memories not soon forgotten by our children and grandchildren.

[Is that “The Way We Were” I hear playing in the background?]