I'm sitting here, alone, literally capturing 5 minutes of peace & solitude on a family vacation in beautiful Montauk.
Let me clarify family vacation: This is the first time I've taken my children away, alone, since the divorce. And this is the first time I've gone away with my mother. Ever. So I'm going away with some trepidation. And I'm using the term vacation loosely.
If the 5-hour drive here is any indication of things to come, then we are in for quite a trip! I'm not sure who has asked "are we there yet?" more, my mother or my 5-yo daughter. Regardless, if I hear this question one more time, I may very well lose it. I'm not sure that I prepared myself for this part of the travel but I do know that I've said multiple times that this is part of our destination. "Enjoy the ride." I've repeated numerous times. "No negativity. No whining. No complaining." I know I've said this but did I actually believe anyone would adhere to this rule?
We finally arrive to our magnificent destination (Montauk Yacht Club). First stop: the pool. First agenda: piña colada. One for me, one for my mom. Finally, peace for all! Note: I don't normally condone alcohol consumption but on vacation, with no driving, it is the perfect accent to chill anyone out and, in this case, so fittingly needed! Another note: neither of us is drunk and the lifeguard is on hand as extra measure!
The scenery here is beyond: boats, water, American flags. And the friendliest of people. It is a reminder that time can stand still when we take the time to allow it to. When we step back and get our lives back in balance and do a gratitude check.
Here I am, sitting in sheer beauty. My beautiful children by my side doing what they do best: playing and loving life. No regard for time, or care that next week they will be back at school. 3rd grade for Ryan and Kindergarten for Chloe. Time is just flying by for us but, for the next few days at least, these are my babies and I get the luxury of playing in the pool with them. Paddle-boating in the ocean (albeit riding around in an unsuccessful circle but none of us care because we're altogether, laughing, enjoying the moment).
As for my mom, yes she drives me nuts and it's my reminder that that's why I am the way I am. But it's a reminder that that's why I am the way I am. (No, that's not a typo). For the next few days, I get the "joy" of dysfunction, but loving dysfunction. Time to let her share this love with my children, one-on-two. And seeing her relax and just be. (She actually paddled boated, alone, wearing a life jacket, but gave in to the reigns of natures wonder! And, no, she was not buzzed!) She also showed my son how to minnow fish...it was an amazing grandmom-grandson moment!
However these next few days unfold, who cares. It's not about what or why or when. It's about who and our experience. In the moment. This is our vacation and the memories that unfold from such. And then to cherish each and every second from it.
I was so scared to take this trip and, on some levels felt validated for those fears. But "fear is a way to get closer to the truth." (Pema Chodron.) And my truth is that I'm scared of my children and my mom getting older. I know that's inevitable. So to conquer this fear, I look it in the eye and embrace it. I take this vacation. And I enjoy every second of it...the good, bad & the otherwise. It's all about the experience & the memories.
As I drive home, another 5 hour trip, I make sure to take it all in. It wasn't quite as I had expected. It never is, is it? We made amazing friends. Laughed hard. Cried harder. Slipped in the tub, had a fever, ruined a few pieces of clothing, spent a ton of money, and even got in a fight on our way out the door! But the memories we made? Well those are priceless. And as we countdown the miles: 148-68-38, I remind us all to stop the whining and take in the sunset. Such magnificence abounds. Who knows when the next vacation will come? Not soon enough, for sure.
Now where's that piña colada?