Goodbyes are the hardest for me. I lose it. What a crying mess I’ve been. I think it is because I am always saying goodbye and have been for years because I live a long distance from home.

Goodbyes are the hardest for me. I lose it. What a crying mess I’ve been. I think it is because I am always saying goodbye and have been for years because I live a long distance from home.

Yes, our 2011 family reunion has come to an end. I just left my parents’ home, again, crying my eyes out. Who wouldn’t? Mom and Dad are so frail, and they live too far away. Within the past four days, all of my children and grandchildren have returned home.

Some of the kids had flown into New York, others into Philadelphia and one brave family came by train, which they enjoyed. We met up at Grandma and Grandpa’s home.

Of course, I drove to Pennsylvania with Kelsey, but she flew home a bit early to get back to her Day Program. She really missed her friends.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of pictures downloaded onto my laptop. Whew, it will take a couple of hours to view them all.

There are moments when I can clearly recall the entire beach activity from a very small picture.

Let’s talk about 12-month-old Ava, who just learned to walk. She wore a Crocodile Dundee hat, and the second her feet hit the sand, she headed toward the ocean. This girl had no fear and had to be constantly watched.

We met little Fiona for the first time. She was six weeks old, and wore an adorable swim suit. Most of her time was spent in the Fisher Price beach bed. Fiona was comfy in her little bed with shade and screens, totally protected from other babies or seagulls.

Then you have Camille, who played in the baby swimming pool with more toys and sand than water. Every so often, she’d lose her pacifier and then find it under a deep pile of beach toys.

The boys and Malia enjoyed digging for treasures. Each year, I bring extra seashells, gold coins and plastic animals to hide in the sand. Boy, the kids love to dig them up. It’s a race. Three-year-old Carter seemed to enjoy that game the best.

We held a ladies-only breakfast on the boardwalk, which was delicious (and quiet).

Well, I need to wrap up this column, so I texted each of the kids and asked for one word which described our week together. This is what I heard back: perfection, relaxing, fabulous, party, perfect, boardwalk fun and ocean. Kelsey said, “Babies.”

I’d say it’s being together as a family.

No matter where you go or what you do, whether it’s enjoying togetherness in the living room, backyard, city park or just taking a ride in the country, do it with your family. These are memories you will carry the rest of your life.

Readers, enjoy your week.