Leaving early


We left our vacation early.

As a child, I used to view the ending of vacations, and all kinds of celebrations like Christmas and my birthday and anything else that signified a little something special, with immeasurable amounts of dread and sadness. The gloom – I couldn’t shake it until the routine of normal life swept me back up and pushed me forward. And even then, I simply move straight into eagerly awaiting the next vacation, celebration, break from the norm.

feet under pregnant belly

As an adult, well I can’t say I grew out of that post-celebration gloom. Now, I deal with it better, by working hard to make all days and moments special, not just the big ones that demand it, but all of the little ones in between as well. Which is why, when an evacuation ended our vacation abruptly last year, I mourned the loss of those extra 2.5 days quickly and then looked ahead to make two house-bound days as memorable as possible.

But this year, we called it. No act of nature, no third party. Us.

See, I had thought that, even at nearly 8 months pregnant, I could still sleep anywhere, carry her anywhere, ignore the aches and the pains, all as long as I had sand under my feet and sweet, salty air moving through my lungs.

umbrellas on the beach

I was wrong.

By day 2, I was achy, exhausted, and dreaming of my own bed and big body pillow so hard that each night I could think of nothing else.

And, like all of those boardwalk tchotchkes proclaim, “If Mama’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Or something like that. By day 3, we all seemed to be craving home.

So we left.

We left only about 18 hours earlier than we had planned. But still, it stings.

The entire way home, I thought of how much fun she had in the pool. How the ocean scared her at first each morning but how, before long, she was eagerly taking large strides forward to let the water cover her feet. How all of the sights and sounds fascinated her. How every morning she stared out the window with her big, beautiful eyes, amazed that the beach was still there and the ocean still creating waves.

daddy and girl at the beach

How the three of us were together with limited distractions and just enjoying each others company.

It makes my heart ache.

We refused the gift of more of that time. I stole memories. Right out from under us. Deprived us of more beachy moments that we’d hold in our hearts and return to often.

bird on clock at beach

And then we got home. She reunited with every toy and every lovey while we unpacked. She tore the place apart, covering the floors with doll clothes and puzzles and anything she could get her fingers on. Almost as if she had been dreaming of this moment just as hard as I had been dreaming of my bed.

baby clothes on the floor

And the sting of those uncreated beachy memories began to fade.

We played. We ate dinner at our own table. We slept in our own beds. We staycationed. And, yes, we continued to make memories. Not beachy memories. But still memories that we’ll hold in our hearts and return to often.

And that, we must remember, was the point all along.


linking up with Shell.



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