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Family Matters: The Beach T-Shirt Tradition


Every year, my family congregates at the beach. In addition to other traditions we hold sacred, all of the kids make an annual beach T-shirt to commemorate the vacation.

One year, the shirts were lime green with the year written on the breast pocket in Roman numerals. Another year, they were light blue with a skull and crossbones in homage to our annual “pirate scavenger hunt.”

The kids often decorate their own shirts. A few years ago, they used puffy fabric paints to detail fish on the front of their white T-shirts. We learned quickly that children really love decorating with large clumps of puffy paint that take days (and days and days) to dry.

Last year, the kids tried a new technique. They drew on the front of their shirts with permanent markers, then used a medicine dropper to drop small amounts of rubbing alcohol on the ink. The ink spread, almost like a tie-dye pattern. They were lovely!

This year, each kid received a bright orange T-shirt already emblazed with a superhero-esque styling of their initials on the front. The Man of Steel has nothing on CP, LP, JB, RB, GB, BH, CH and BB! My son Luke decorated his with thunderbolts. My nephew Greycen, who also answers to “Thor” this year, drew hammers on every available surface of his shirt. Claire, the only niece, got almost exclusive use of the purple, pink and silver fabric markers.

Throughout the week, the kids wear their T-shirts. Here’s to hoping we get them all in clean shirts, in one place at one time, for a picture. 

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