The photo above is a picture of myself with only half of my family. This is the crew that travels to Cocoa Beach, Florida every year for our annual family vacation/reunion. What makes this picture even funnier is that we are missing 11 people from this picture. To add yet another laugh, there was one year when the count was a total of 40-45.

Ever since I was born, my family (clearly, a rather large party as shown above), has taken this trip down to Florida. As the years went by, some people have stopped coming, and we have added a few new faces. Our "usual" location has changed but the importance of the trip has always remained the same. I looked forward to getting in the car when I was little and driving to see my aunt and uncle in Florida. I looked forward to the adventures that we had each and every year, making memories and just being together.

As time treks on and life happens, I find myself almost getting aggravated when this vacation comes up every year. As a kid, you do not worry about money or packing, you just worry about the fun. Yet as you grow older, you are graced with the realization that money does not grow on trees and packing for two weeks in a tiny bag is hard work.

While in the moment I am irritated, when I arrive to my blissful paradise I am reminded of why I enjoy this. Family vacations are so crucial to the family unit, especially in this day. I look around and I see more and more family units drifting apart over the petty things, and that breaks my heart. Families do not spend nearly as much time together as they used to -- that is a fact that cannot be denied.

So, I am here to tell you that no matter how you do it, for the sake of your families -- your children and grandchildren, plan a family vacation. It does not matter where you go or how long you go, just go. I get it, money can be tight, but take a day off work one day and have a three-day weekend. Go to someplace new in your hometown and explore. Take a drive and find a park you've never been to. You do not have to go somewhere crazy to have a family vacation -- you just have to be together, and I think that is something that families have forgotten.

I promise you, you might think it's trivial now, but one day your children will thank you for those memories. Your children will thank you for the time and \effort you put into creating that fun trip one weekend, or that crusie you took them on. Whatever it is your family decides to do, enjoy the moment and the memories. You don't have to go somewhere crazy to just be together in a new place.