It was to be a great 3 days. Off-season on the Florida Gulf Coast with my mom, grandmother, sister, daughter, and cousin.
We’d been planning for weeks. Counting down the days.
When Reagan woke up sick with congestion and sore throat on Monday, I vowed to home remedy and in-stock medicate her to avoid flu exposure at a clinic. As the days wore on, she seemed to improve ever so slightly. I knew, if I could just get her near the salty air, she’d probably heal right up.
I was right.
As we left home Thursday, I had an irritating little cough and the tiniest bit of a scratchy throat. Pine pollen, I figured.
By the time we arrived to the condo, my throat was on fire and I felt completely wiped out from listening to my grandmother talk without ne’er an interruption for 3 hours.
Still, I thought I’d feel better the next day after a good night’s sleep. But I didn’t have a good night’s sleep so I didn’t feel better the next day. Slightly worse, actually.
So I drove to the drugstore and got some meds. I thought I was on the mend….but by late evening I was getting congested and my cough had turned croupy.
Saturday morning was not kind to me either. So I went back to bed. Twice. And it killed my soul.
I know you’re supposed to rest on vacation but not because you’re sick!
By Saturday night, with our departure the next morning looming over my head, I went out to eat with some of the gals. When we got back, we went for a night walk on the beach.
I watched the girls, these girls I’ve been watching be friends since they were barely old enough to talk, shake off their teenager exteriors and act like kids when they found ghost crabs on the beach and caught them.
I watched my mom help them.
And as I watched the waves of the great Gulf of Mexico wash in, the back out again, I was reminded of the constancy of things like simple pleasures. Friendship. How these are the things that make life so very sweet.
I’m sitting on the balcony now, our last night here. Maybe the only time the 6 of us will make a trip like this. I’m looking down at the pool, where Reagan and Emma sit. Talking. Solving the world’s problems. Planning their futures. Sharing secrets.
They won’t know until they’re much older just how precious this time was for them. How it fortified their relationship. Gave them memories to hold on to when life’s relentless surge of stresses comes washing to shore.
I look at these young ladies and smile when I think about all that’s ahead of them.
I look at my sister and recall the shared memories that have solidified our bond.
I look at my grandmother. She’s not in great health. She’s cantankerous and stubborn. She knows everything and what she doesn’t know, she will make up. But she’s mine. And I’m glad we dragged her along. Because I have good memories of times with her. And I want her to continue to be part of when good memories were made, even if she has bitched about a good bit of it. 😒
I look at my mom. She hasn’t been to the beach in over 20 years. She hasn’t taken many vacations. She’s been as steady as the tide, taking care of her family. I’ve never heard her say, not once, “I need a vacation.”
But she did. I saw stress melt off of her like hot candle wax this weekend. I saw her marvel at the beauty of the Gulf. Watched her take in the sounds of the waves and could almost sense the actual release of tension that I know she holds most of the time taking care of her mother.
I’m about to go to bed. When I wake tomorrow, I’m going to take a sunrise walk on the beach. I’ve been sitting in the cool, breezy air for an hour. I might go home with pneumonia. But I’m going home satisfied. There’s physical wellness and there’s spiritual wellness. And this trip recharged my spirit, even if my body was on protest.
People talk about doing things all the time.
“We should ________ some time.”
And that time never comes.
Mostly, because we aren’t intentional about it.
I’ve resolved to be intentional about my life.
Mom and I have talked about making this trip before. Back in the early winter, she said, “When you get a chance, check on some condo prices.”
I could have done that. But “when I have a chance” would almost certainly mean procrastination.
But the day she said that, I sensed something in her voice. I went home, found this place, and I called her. She didn’t hesitate. “Why don’t you go ahead and book it?”
So I did.
And here we are.
And I’m sick. My kid is missing 2 days of school. My grandmother has been complaining about the glare from the windows and the temperature of the unit.
But here we are.
And there have been memories made that will last a lifetime. Bonds have been fortified.
Waves have been heard. Surf has been waded in. Shells have been collected.
Tomorrow it’s back to the real world. But for just a while longer, it’s a step outside the ordinary.
The girls are still by the pool. I should wave them up…..
Let them be.