Thoughts from our recent family vacation – the sweetest time spent at the shore together~
After a week of questioning, we woke up to news that Hurricane Dorian had shifted! We were going to be able to head to Florida after all. One problem: we weren’t exactly packed for this vacation that had been rescheduled due to the monster storm that had been brewing for days…no worries. Within two hours, the car topper was on the minivan, and we were on the road. Along for the ride was a garbage bag full of mine and David’s dirty laundry that needed to be washed so we could pack for our beach trip…
We made it to Florida! Nine hours in the car with four kids was brought to you by ocean-themed books from the library, Jonathan Park audio books, Leap Pad games, Toy Story on the iPad – with loads of fighting interspersed throughout. We entered the condo with me nearly in tears because of behavior issues along the way. (No vacation is complete without the mom crying over something. Wait. Not in your family? Okay, never mind.) The evening ended with a quick walk on a dark beach where I was convinced a sand gator was going to swallow my babies in the pitch black of night – and my tossing the dirty laundry in the wash before we went to bed.
Woke up with only goal in mind: that no one drown. It was the sweetest morning in the sand. Amelia is on the move which is equal parts fun and terrifying. I prefer for all four children to sit quietly on a beach blanket while we munch goodies from a charcuterie board and watch the tides do their thing. None of this has actually never happened, but wouldn’t it be sweetest scene? A mother can dream.
Today, the boys walked with me so we could hunt for shells. Well, first Caleb and I went for a stroll. We’ve done this for years now…since he was old enough to walk – except he used to hold my hand. He didn’t hold my hand today…in fact, I think this was the first mother-son shell hunt where he didn’t. I thought about grabbing his hand, but he’s in the third grade now…and almost as tall as my shoulders, so I tried to play it cool. For a second I thought, “Maybe he’ll reach for my hand.” – but he didn’t…and he’s probably not going to – He’s basically a man now. He talked to me, though, and I’m okay with doing things his way, I think…though my heart did break a little this morning.
Next, it was Isaac’s turn – he held my hand. In fact, he drug me up and down the beach and all over again and I thought I was nearly going to die from exhaustion, but I held on tight…just in case it was the last time his little fingers ever reached for mine on the beach.
Tonight, Caleb lost another tooth. He’s thrilled…and I’m forcing a smile. No hand-holding and now this? I can’t take it.
Everyone’s behavior was better today. We’ll probably have more tough moments before we head for home, but here for a handful of days, we’re together – without any outside distractions – and that’s my favorite.
Today, Aubrey and I sat at the edge of the Gulf- letting the waves crash up on us. With each wave, we laughed and cheered for the water to come back…and we sang. There is a girl that I love and Aubrey is her name-o. and This little girl of mine, I’m going to let her shine. and God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me. Song after song, she signed…and sang along with me.
She’s singing more and more these days, and I’ve never heard a sweeter sound. As we sang, waves would knock us over in the sand with Aubrey loving the challenge – pushing right back up every single time. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this enthusiasm in my girl. Aubrey has never been one to shy away from a challenge. Giving up has never been her thing. Trying again is without a doubt the only option for her. I always say I want to be more like my girl, and I mean it.
The man-child and I went walking on the beach looking for shells again today. I’ve always been fascinated by the shells he chooses. He doesn’t seem to care much about a shell’s size…or if it’s cracked or broken. He pays more attention to its unique coloring or the special design that peeks up at him from the sand. I want him to see people this same way.
Today I told him that one of my favorite parts of vacation at the beach is walking along the shore with him. His response? “Well, my favorite part is the ice cream at night.”
Today, we watched the Sea Turtle Team attempt to rescue baby sea turtles. The head of the team looked around at a crowd of people gathered near a mound of discarded turtle eggs, and said, The state says to let nature take its course, but I won’t stand for that. I recently rescued 40 unhatched eggs and nursed those babies to life. While I appreciate his work with the animals, his comment sent my heart racing toward an abortion clinic…or a maternity ward…or an orphanage…or wherever I need to go to rescue discarded souls. I can’t help it…that’s just where my mind goes when I hear people say things like that.
All in all, this week has been the most relaxing vacation we’ve ever had as family. Sure, I’m still on mom duty with snack prep, potty accidents, and laundry – but this is the first summer in years that I’ve not been pregnant or nursing, and that probably has a lot to do with why things seem easy for me at the shore this week. Mornings at the beach playing, afternoons that include napping girls and movie-watching boys, evenings out and about with ice cream and swimming before bed – We’re all going to be so sad to leave!
So, so sad to be leaving tomorrow – soaking up every last second of being together without any interruptions.
Aubrey woke up puking. We thought it was going to make for a long drive home, but she seemed to be okay the rest of the day. Amelia cried for 93.74% of the drive, but we made it home and are so grateful we had this week away together.