Sunday, August 24, 2008

Deep Breath

family portrait, originally uploaded by livefunky.

Sitting on the shore, watching my step son wade out for one last swim of the day, I had this amazing feeling wash over me. Everything that matters is ok. In fact, it's ideal. The things that matter are love and family and inner joy/peace - check, check and double check.

The things that don't matter are the things that we left in a flurry of stress about. It all boils down to one thing - paying the bills. The almighty dollar. It is amazing how such an abstract thing can cause such real emotional, physical and psychological distress. When we returned to our home last night (and the stack of new bills waiting for us like a chorus of Debbie Downers) I couldn't help but let it get me down for a moment. After a "poor me" (or actually "us") cry, we talked it out and toasted a glass of wine to keeping our dreams alive and having patience in ourselves as we take each day at a time.

Uploading our vacation pictures to flickr was the best medicine as the salty air recent memories filled me and replaced my fear and stress with that same optomistic energy I felt every day of our trip. We may be in a pinch, but who isn't? EVERYTHING has gone up - everything. Whereas a year ago we could manage to skate by, even when unexpected car repairs or whatever popped up, now it's a constant skate and that wears on you. But it's wearing on EVERYONE. We are not alone, not by a long shot. There are folks that have to forclose on their beloved homes. There are folks that go without heat because they can't fill their oil tank. I must always be grateful for the blessings that we have and faith that God will provide when we cannot. He always does - when will I finally realize that and do what my mom always says "let go and let God"? Today I resolve to say no to stress and yes to life.

So - back to the best vacation ever.

We stayed in a big, old house built in 1898 right on Wells beach in Maine with a large group of family and friends. Feeling like we owned that chunk of sand and sea in front of us and spending every available moment outside. At night, there are no lights, no noisy traffic to disturb the peaceful sound of lapping waves and the nightly show of a huge, red moon rising over the ocean. We ate lobster, we boogie boarded on some "gnarly waves" (as my step daughter said, getting a laugh every time), we had deep and silly conversations, we shared ghost stories by the fire and had sing alongs. Every day the sun came out hot and heavy, with just a few puffy clouds in sight. Every day we bonded with Mother Ocean, swimming, walking beside her, and searching tide pools for hermit crabs and baby lobsters. As an added bonus, there was a ping pong table. So much fun working up a sweat with a few matches then going for a dip in the chilly water. My mom got to go for a swim in the ocean for the first time since her stroke in 2005. It was a wild group effort getting her out there, but she loved it. With my dad and I on either side of her holding her up and bouncing up over a wave, she giggled like a little girl with a wild smile on her face. That will be one of the memories I hold in my heart forever.

It was a magic vacation based on very simple, down to earth elements. Ocean, family, friends, food, fun, relaxation and conversation. No need to go all over the place or spend money on amusement parks or mini golf. A ping pong table, deck of cards, a scrabble board, our imaginations and the sea were all the entertainment we needed. I am so thankful for my parents organizing this and bringing everyone together. If you read this mom and dad, we all love you and thank you for the best family vacation we've ever had.


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Meghan Henley said...

I needed this post, Jess. We have been feeling the pinch too. I often wonder, "can we do this? Can we manage this month?" And then I realize that I have a healthy, happy family that I know in my heart will be okay. I just know. I put the most important things in the forefront and take some REALLY DEEP BREATHS. Keep truckin. Love to you and yours, Meg

Anonymous said...

Glad you have got your best ever vacation trip, congrats.

Anonymous said...

So…. It sounds like an amazing trip.