“Give me coffee to change the things I can, and the beach to accept the things I can’t.” ~ Unknown
As always, the best laid plans did not go as planned. What else is new. I spent days searching for just the right house — large enough to hold all of us and two dogs. The month before we were supposed to leave, one child started a new job and wasn’t going to be able to take off work to join us. Four days before we were to leave, another child proclaimed he wasn’t in the “traveling mood.” Anger, frustration, exasperation, hurt – the gamut of emotions was not pleasant.
After listening to a meditation, I changed my thought process. Much like the safety spiel on the plane, it’s important to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. For months, I’ve been working my ass off – taking care of dogs, kids, patients, family members, the house . . . but not myself. While my first response was to tell the reluctant traveler to “suck it up, you’re going” (which I did), I revised it to “you can stay home, I only take folks on vacation that WANT to spend time with me.” The majority of my planning was to make sure there was room for the kids and pets, but in the midst of all the planning, I forgot to realize that I, too, was going on vacation and I deserved some peace and enjoyment as well.
While I ended up with two kids instead of four, and one dog instead of two . . . the time away was relaxing and enjoyable. The rental house was phenomenal. Dinner with an older daughter and her family was a rare treat before they left to return home. Watching my daughter relax away from the worries of home was a pleasure. Watching my son laugh and giggle unrestrainedly in the surf, riding the same rollercoaster at the amusement park 48 times (he kept track) and try to control his frustration with new situations was exciting.
At one point, my daughter overheard one of the ride operators mention something to another about “that kid in the back” which was my son. She came to me to tell me about it, but went back to ride the rollercoaster with him, determined to defend him if need be. It is such a pleasure to watch my kids grow and mature as these situations occur. She went on to ride the more scary rollercoaster, albeit by herself as her brother is deathly afraid of heights. I am unable to ride most rides that spin, twist or twirl since my surgery for my brain tumor.
Memories are meant to be made, enjoyed, revisited and enjoyed again. On the long drive back to Missouri, my son would ask me about things he did when he was little. We shared memories, and stories:
- “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom!! . . . . See my eh-bow” (he couldn’t quite say elbow)
- Spinning around the living room in his PJ’s with a blanket held behind him, “I’m a butterfly.”
- “Mom it was so nice and warm in your womb, I didn’t want to come out.” (said at the age of 5)
Then there was the Australian accent that he would use (quite well), the German accent he would attempt (quite badly) and the attempt to do a New York accent that started out well and ended in the Australian accent which gave us fits of giggles.
A day . . . without kids, without dogs, without responsibilities . . . for me to sleep and relax and rest before I go back home to the grind. The beach will always be my happy place, where I feel most at peace.