I just spent four of the most peaceful, yet fun-filled days with my family in Florida. I am so lucky to have these amazing people in my life. The weekend was filled with so much love and I was surrounded by some of the most compassionate people. This weekend has made me realize why family is so important…especially important when one is recovering from a chronic illness. The two weeks leading up to our vacation were especially difficult for me. I was busy with meetings at our new home (which is under construction), picking out tiles, cleaning our old house to get it ready for an Open House and showings and running the boys to and from soccer, T-ball and baseball – which happens to be a 40 minute run across town. I thought that the extra exercise while juggling everything else would make me feel refreshed and healthy. Unfortunately, my body quickly crashed and I was an emotional, weak, mess by the end of the week. I called a friend and sobbed on the phone and told her that I just couldn’t take this anymore and I wanted so badly to be healthy. I was anxious because I felt like I was getting worse. My brain felt like it was pulsing inside my head, my hands shook, my panic attacks had returned, my legs felt numb and my muscles were twitching. My whole body was buzzing and I was exhausted. I had very little energy to do any more. My body was calling for some rest and my mind – some nurturing care from my family.
So, off we went early Thursday morning to Florida. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and the boys were little angels on the short flight down. When we arrived in Florida and drove down the dirt road to my father’s house, I felt a sense of calmness and relief. This was my sanctuary for healing for the next few days. We pulled up to the garage door with one of my dad’s signs hanging above, A brave fisherman and a gorgeous gal live here. I chuckle. That’s my dad. He quickly made the boys comfortable by showing them the bunnies and chickens in the yard – we didn’t tell them that they were being raised for food. A couple of years ago, this news would have been embarrassing for me to share with all of you. I’m a city girl and my dad is just about as country as one can get. You can’t visit dad and Yvette without having a sense of humor. They plucked a rooster just months before our visit and ate that for dinner. I asked them to try to refer to their animals as just pets around the kids and to refrain from serving anything in the backyard for dinner while we were there. Being able to laugh at our differences was so therapeutic for me. So, my dad, his gorgeous gal and their 15 chickens and bunnies made me realize what was important that weekend – I am loved…for me. And, I love them – just the way they are.
Finn playing with Nana and Poppa’s food.
Rylan playing with Nana and Poppa’s food.
After a peaceful sleep – without the sounds of sirens and people chatting late into the night, we decided to go to a water park in Jacksonville, FL. The boys were super excited to play in the old pirate ship at Pirate’s Landing and slide down the water slides with Nana and Poppa. Rylan was a little reluctant to go down one of the tunnel slides until Poppa showed him how it was done by creating a huge splash as he slid into the water below. Rylan slid down right after him and jumped up with a sense of accomplishment and ran up through the pirate ship to try it again. I was touched to see my dad showing Rylan how to overcome his fear so that he could slide down that slide with confidence. And then I witnessed it again when I saw my husband helping Rylan climb a tree. I don’t know why I am so touched by these events. My heart literally jumps for joy when I see this interaction between my parents, husband and kids. They have taught me ways to overcome my fears during the last two years – don’t let fear stop you in your tracks. Keep going until your fear is no longer an issue.
Ready to go!
Our little bear cub climbing a tree
Sunday was our last day with my dad and Yvette so we went to their church first thing in the morning. It’s a tiny church located a few miles from their home. They had a nursery and Sunday school class which is not something we are used to in Boston so we took that opportunity and dropped the kids off as quickly as possible. When I was dropping Rylan off at Sunday school, I sat at a craft table across from one of the teachers and I was surprised when she asked me how I was feeling. I had never met this woman before and the last time I had been to my father’s church was over two years ago. She went on to say that she knew that I was very sick and spent some time in the hospital. My eyes teared up when she said, we’ve all been prayin’ for you to get better! We were all worried about you! I’m so happy you are feelin’ good, my dear. I was stopped my another woman as we were leaving the church and she asked how I was and told me that she was praying for me and that she would still be praying for me when I left. I was overcome with emotions. These people – complete strangers – were praying for me?!? I felt so special and loved by these people…my father and Yvette’s “family”. A little compassion can heal ones soul and brighten their day.
My wee boys
And these little boys…
….just 4 and 2 years old and they shower me and Chris with hugs and kisses every day – showing their love for us. Rylan asks me every night – mommy, do you feel good tonight. I hope you feel good tomorrow too. It melts my heart every time!
My family is so important because when times are tough, they are the ones that can pull me through – with laughter – with security – with compassion – and love.
Thank you, dad and Yvette for taking such good care of us this past weekend.