The Lake of the Ozarks is somewhere my family started going before I was even born. If I could remember a place as early as anything, it would be sitting on my dad’s lap as he drove the boat. That feeling of being free, without responsibility, nothing else mattered at that moment. The breeze, the tan, everything about it, it was truly Heaven on Earth.
The lake seemed to be somewhere that was worry free, where I could forget about all of the negatives that consumed my life. Family issues and grades were not a topic of conversation at the lake, however, laughs, joy and togetherness fueled the entire trip. The reason that we were blessed to have a condo and a boat and were able to go down there often, was another result of my parent’s extremely hard work.
The Ozarks was a place where my family always seemed to be the closest we had ever been. Both of my older siblings: Melissa, 30, and Andrew, 25, and I, bonded more there than anywhere else. There is not one other place that makes me happier when I sit and think about a time in my life when I was the happiest. From the 3 hour car ride to the day-long boat rides, the lake was the glue that held the family together. We hiked, we swam in the lake, you name it, we did it. Although it was a relaxing trip, we were active and still did our usual exploring. Finding new places, trying new things, etc.
Vista Grande, Baxter’s, Dog Days, Redhead, and repeat. We went to the same restaurants every single time. Still to this day, those are some of my favorite places to go. My parents bought a condo at Land’s End Condominiums right on the water about 5 months before I was born. About 10 years later, we sold that one, and bought at the Hampton’s not even a mile down the road.
The day came, my freshman year of high school, where my dad had to break the news to us that he and my mom were going to sell the condo at the lake, and look for one somewhere else. Now, you may be thinking, why would she be upset if they are still getting vacation home? The Ozarks was not only a place of vacation or a “get away” for me. To me, it was about family. Selling that condo personally felt like selling the one place where everything seemed right. My siblings and I would get along, my parents wouldn’t have to worry about working, and I didn’t have to worry about school.
Family is something I value more than anything else. Unfortunately, sometimes no matter how hard someone tries to keep family together, it doesn’t always work out. A family member may wander off into a different crowd or get involved with someone that you tell them not to, but they do anyway. This can result in severe catastrophic consequences for them, and their family. My personal advice is to enjoy and cherish every moment you have with your family. You never know when that can change or be taken away from you in an instant. However, if someone in your family does decide to stray away because they think that’s better or they think they know better, take it from me, don’t give up. It might take a while, but continually pray that they re-enter your life and realize they are giving something up that is supposed to be one of the few constant and most important aspects of life, and that’s family.