We were at the beach last week. And if I had my way we would be at the beach next week, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

When the kids were younger, my wife took a picture of them walking ahead of us on the beach. You could see their little footprints in various stages of being erased by the waves in the photo.

I liked that picture a lot, so every beach trip since I’ve always taken some pictures of them walking up ahead of us.

I never thought too much about it. It was just a picture I liked.

Until last week.

Last week, while walking behind them it dawned on me that in order for us to get a good picture of their footprints on the beach, they had to be walking away from us. If they were walking toward us it would be a picture of them.

That’s what kids do. From the moment they are born they begin their walk. And it has to lead away from you, the parent. As much as we may not like it, it’s the way it has to be.

They may not ever be very far away, but they do end up walking on their own. And they can always trust that as long as we are able to walk, all they have to do is turn around and we’ll be there.

We have a high school graduate and a seventh-grader. I knew going down on this trip it might very well be the last trip we took that was just the four of us.

My son is starting college. He might hit that stretch where he doesn’t want, or isn’t able to hit the family trips. Or maybe he will come and bring along a friend.

Either way, there may not be anymore “Nix, family of four” that we have enjoyed all these years.

If you’re on any kind of social media, you see the “take the trip” type posts. Some post urging the reader to go ahead and take the trip, make the memory.

That’s how we’ve always done. I don’t know that we have ever taken a trip that we could afford. Or one that we couldn’t have used that money for something a bit more fiscally responsible. My debt and credit score will confirm that.

But we made the memories. We have all the pictures of their little footprints walking away from us. The same footprints getting larger and larger each year.

We may spend the entire year paying for this trip we just took. And I can tell you right now, I’ll do the exact same thing next year.

Take the trip, make the memories. And take pictures of those footprints walking away from you while you can.

Because they are walking away from you, way more quickly than you’ll ever realize.

Toby Nix is a Newnan writer, guitarist and deputy sheriff. He is the author of two books, “Columns I Wrote” and the newly released “A Book I Wrote.” He can be reached at tobynix@yahoo.com.

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