Last year, my husband went to Florida with the kids without me.
I didn’t have enough vacation time and I had health problems anyway. I stayed back and went to work. I missed them so much it was painful. I didn’t know what to do with myself.
When I wasn’t working, I binge watched Cucumber and that was it. I counted down the minutes until I could be with them again.
I tried going out with friends, but I didn’t feel well. All I wanted to do was lay down. I didn’t write. I didn’t do anything. I just waited, waited and waited for my children to return.
This year, I made sure to take the time off work, no matter what.
We drove nine hours straight to St. Augustine and fell into a pattern pretty quickly.
Wake up, beach, big lunch, nap, pool, bed.
We drank a lot. We were lazy and buzzed. And for once, I tried to just go with it.
I took the kids to the beach. I took them to the pool. I watched them float. I watched them sing and dance. I took them for a short walk at sunset. I got in the pool with them and dragged them around by their feet while they squealed.
Henry body surfed and dove into the waves. Gus waved to all the waves, “Hi,” he said. “Hi, hi, hi.” He greeted each and every wave and then swam in it. The joy of him. It made me blissful, just to be near him.
A lot of it was hard and painful too. The whining, the crying, the tiny fights and fits. Henry was sucked under a wave; he came up terrified and spitting.
“I’m never swimming again!” he shouted.
Still, I thought, I get to look at them. I get to be with them. I get to see them. And that was everything.