The day after my birthday, I woke up a year older. I can still remember how slow the years passed when I was a teenager. Now, years travel at the speed of light and are unstoppable like a freight train. Nevertheless, I looked in the mirror wearing a new two-piece bathing suit and I said to myself “Not bad… still can be fixed with a little liposuction”.
While I was pasting my face with a mix of sunscreen and foundation –best way to avoid sunburn by the way– my son was getting all geared up with beach stuff, my stepdaughter was yawning on the couch, and my husband was walking out the door to play golf with his brothers. Our vacation had officially began, and I couldn’t wait to stretch out on a beach chair and take in as much as vitamin D from the sun as I could.
Surrounded by white sand that goes through your fingers like sugar, and an ocean that revives your eye sight with the most beautiful palette of greens and blues, the family –minus the golf crazies—submerged in paradise. The children splashed in the waves and played with the sand, and the sisters-in-law chit-chat for hours. That was the daily schedule: beach, pool, lunch, beach, pool, dinner, and family time, which was the best part of the day. La famiglia – Italian for “the family”- had the rare chance to celebrate three birthdays –my 35th, my nephew’s 6th, and my brother in law’s 60th. As good Italians, the siblings shared, or should I said shouted, timeless memories about their childhood and the loved ones no longer with us.
The days went like this until the typical summer thunder storms arrived and cut the fun short. One of those rainy afternoons I sat in the balcony of our room and saw something that caught my attention. I understand that people drive across many state lines to come to the beaches at Destin.
What I don’t understand, is how someone could stay at the beach watching the sky turned purple-blackish, while hurricane like winds shook their tents, and thunder drummed in the sky outlined by lightning? Moreover, once the rain started falling they even got in the water! Didn’t they have a sense of self-preservation?
That same afternoon we went out to eat early and I also noticed a “no grooming” behavior in many tourists that crossed our path. I appreciate that they are on vacation, and they want to let go and relax –believe me, I didn’t clean up our condo like the obsessive compulsive I am—but was taking a shower, in the bathroom not at the pool, too much to ask? How about a change of clothes or even wearing shoes? I guess vacation for these people also meant going back in time to “cave-man mode”, walking barefoot displaying black feet soles –like The Flintstones– at restaurants and ice cream shops.
Regardless of the black feet and smelly visitors, we wanted to stay, but it was time to go home. We spent the last night at a small attractions park called The Track where the little ones got to ride the Ferris wheel, free fall, fly airplanes, and drive carts –which my son turned into bumper cars and almost got him kicked out of the track. I gave each family a picture frame as a souvenir, and we said our good byes with hugs and kisses.
The memories of this trip will stay with us forever, especially for my son who met five cousins –who were only faces on Christmas cards–and with whom he formed a bond the moment they met.
Once at the condo we all packed –to my husband and my stepdaughter packing means shoving all their stuff in a duffle bag until the stitching is ready to pop. Around midnight, the little man started coughing a lot, so we gave him a couple of breathing treatments with the nebulizer hoping that he was going to respond well. Unfortunately, the cough turned into the “seal bark” of the viral Croup, and later he started wheezing. I called the reception and asked for the closest hospital. We got in the car and drove five minutes to Sacred Heart Hospital. One breathing treatment, a shot of steroids, and three hours later we were discharged. Around ten we were driving back to Tallahassee to pick up my car at the Jeep dealership –the damage was the radiator broke. We got there without jumping hurdles, returned the rental car, and drove home. We arrived at our house a little after six p.m.
Completely exhausted and sleep deprived, I started thinking about Murphy’s Law again. I knew my son was going to get sick, not because I’m a pessimist, but because he’s had an asthma history since he was 15 months. Also, every time he jumped in the pools at the Sandestin resort, I couldn’t help but to remember my husband’s words about public pools: “They are Petri dishes”. And he was right, but I was not going to stop the fun for my little baby because of the bacteria cooking in those waters; it was a toll to pay. And there was the lesson of the week.
All good things, emotional or material, have a price; call it a sacrifice. The question is, are we willing to pay it? If it means my son’s endless laughter and building family memories, I say yes!
Thanks for reading and sharing.