Updated: Jul 13, 2020
By Brigid Schulte
Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, March 9, 2008
I have to be honest. When my younger sister, Claire, called one dreary winter day last year and said that my mother’s dearest wish was to take the whole family on a trip to celebrate her 75th birthday, I thought: bad idea.
Let’s face it: My mom was pretty spry, but she said she wanted to go someplace hot even though she burns to a crisp in the sun even in full-body zinc. My dad, at nearly 79, well, let’s just say he likes his familiar routine of going to church in the morning and hanging out in his den in the afternoon. My mother loves to sit and talk; my husband is only happy on the move. There would be 12 of us. My older sister had two teenagers, and my youngest was 5. Where on Earth could we go that wasn’t already long booked, wouldn’t cost a fortune and wouldn’t make us want to kill each other? I figured I would bite my tongue and just nod sympathetically when Claire came up empty-handed and we decided to just go out to dinner.
Instead, there was a snowstorm in Portland, Ore., where my extended family lives. And for three solid days, my tenacious younger sister surfed the Internet and called hundreds of places until she found what we would all much, much later agree was about as close to perfection as you could get: a cliff-side villa overlooking a sky-blue ocean bay in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, for a week in March.