Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Vacation or Relocation?

I love a good vacation. Always have. I love the planning and the anticipation and the experience of discovering someplace new. 

Once Miranda came into our lives, I knew I wanted her also to enjoy vacations. So I have made it my mission to make sure we do something special each year.

The first year, we went to the mountains. Some family joined us, and we made a lot of great memories. I got really sick and was in bed for a bit of the week and Miranda was still napping twice a day, and we didn't do much, but we did something. I will always cherish that first trip away and always laugh at how much I had to pack to make the mountain house pretty much a replica of our house at home.

The next year, we went back to the mountains. Different house, but same area. By this time, Miranda was too big for the pack and play so we put her in a twin size bed. We installed a bed rail and hoped for the best, but she crawled out of that bed each and every day and that vacation marked the end of naps for her as well as easy bed times. Two years later and we are still dealing with her crawling out of bed at bedtime and wanting to play. Still, I will always look back on that week with joy as we really had a great time overall.

The next year we went to the beach. Oh, how wonderful that was for us! I decided then and there that we would continue to visit the beach and often as we could and that the ocean was where we were meant to be. We talked about that week all year long.

This past week, we went back to the beach. The salt water, tram cars, Kohr Bros custard, and sandy beaches are what vacation is to me. This year, my mom joined us for the whole week, and that was a real treat for all of us. The weather was wonderful, and we had the best vacation yet. This vacation was the first one that did not feel like a relocation. This vacation felt like an actual, well, vacation!

Now don't get me wrong. There was no sleeping in. There were no naps on the beach. I brought down a fresh new book that never even got opened. I did read the back of several suntan lotion bottles and once, in the bathroom, the first few pages of Entertainment Weekly. And yet, it was still the best week yet.

Sandcastles were built, seashells were collected, suntans were worked on, and boardwalk games were played. Bedtime was a breeze for the most part because Miranda was so exhausted each night. I taught my daughter how to pee in the ocean, and she taught me how to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. We laughed, we shared stories, we made memories and we got some real quality time together.

I am not sure how much Miranda will remember of this age, but I know that I will remember it all. And if in time, the memories just become feelings, that is ok, too. I get a feeling when I walk on the beach - a familiar feeling of all the times I have walked on the beach before. Walking with my dad, walking with my friends during Senior Week after high school, walking with my girlfriends on our annual GWA (Girls Weekend Away), walking with my husband on our honeymoon, walking with my best friend a few weeks after Allie died. And now? Walking with Miranda. The sand remembers, and I count on it to do just that.

I wonder what beach we will go to next year? I can't wait to start planning. For now, though, I want to keep this vacation close to my heart as it really was so wonderful.

I love a good vacation.








Monday, June 5, 2017

What Samantha Forgot

I recently finished watching the mini-series Big Little Lies on HBO. I absolutely adored it. The character development and the plot twists were so creative and intense. Before I knew it, I finished the series and I wanted more. So I found a book by the same author and excitedly began to dig in.

What Alice Forgot was an incredible read. I barely put it down. In my quest to be a better writer, I am trying to experience all sorts of writing. I am a big fan of this sort!

The main character of this book, Alice Love, falls off her spin bike at the gym and when she wakes up, she thinks she is 29 and not 39. She lost the last 10 years of her life, And she can't seem to get them back. I won't spoil the book by explaining any more, but I will illustrate how this book changed my thinking.

What if I woke up today and thought I was 33 and not 43? That means it's 2007. I was working as Marketing Coordinator at Dorman Products and living in my condo in Roxborough. I had just shed a lot of weight on Nutrisystem, and I was scouring the online dating sites like they were a second job.

My life consisted of work, the gym, my kitty cat Zoe, and my friends and family. I went to concerts and spent a lot of time trying to figure out of I liked beer with hops or without. There were also many wine festivals in there, too.

My one brother was married - my other one was not. There were no kids in our family yet, and my mom was constantly reminding me how sad that made her.

My dad and I saw each other but not all that much. He supported me and tried to be interested in my life, but it seemed like it was hard for him to focus on just me when we were out together.

There was a guy at work named Gary that I went to lunch with every once and a while. I am not sure I knew much about him back then.

Around that time, I remember talking to my mom about the idea of me becoming a mom, She pointed out that I could do it myself if I really wanted to. I did not. I wasn't sure I ever wanted to be a mom, and I knew enough from my friends that it was a lot of work and the idea of doing it solo held no appeal.

I was happy back in 2007. My life had meaning, and I was fulfilled by my work and my activities outside of work. I loved my condo and was proud that I owned it. I loved my little VW convertible, too, although I think I sold it a year or two prior.

If I woke up today and saw my wedding ring, would I remember the story behind how I got it and the man who gave it to me?

If I woke up today and felt my c-section scar, would I understand why it was there? Would I forget the agony of delivering a baby that never cried? Would I also forget the joy and elation of carrying her all those months?

If I woke up today and a little blonde haired girl kept calling me "Mommy" and expected me to make her breakfast and play with her, would I know who she was?

If I woke up today in the bed I have slept in for the past eight years, would I know where I was?

Lucky for me, I took one spin class once and felt so faint that I am not likely to try that again. So the odds of me falling off my bike and losing my memory like Alice are very slim.

Which is good, Because I love my life now, scars and all. The past decade has been an incredible journey for me, and I would not be who I am not if I missed it. Not even close.

Happy in 2017

Learning to Love Yourself No Matter What

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