Saturday, August 13, 2011
Saying goodbye to the Summer of 2011
It’s almost time to go back to school, and I’m not looking forward to kissing this summer goodbye. It’s been eventful, and I’m grateful to have the memories from it that I do. I shared time with people I love, so this post is dedicated to them and the Summer of 2011.
Only three days after I signed out of school in June, Terry, Tori, and I headed to Chicago with Mom and Dad. We spent the night only a few miles from O’Hare, got up early the next morning, and caught a shuttle to the airport. Where did we go, you ask? Mexico! We landed in Cancun about four hours after taking off, and, within another hour or so, we stepped across the threshold of the Now Jade all-inclusive resort in Puerto Morales, about twenty miles south of Cancun.
We spent four nights that I’ll never forget in that beautiful resort on the Caribbean Sea. I watched my mom and dad walk hand-in-hand across the sand so that they could wade together in the sea. I’ve got a picture of Terry and my dad with their arms around each other, waving at me underneath the big blue sky. I don’t know how many hours—all together—Mom, Tori, and I spent in the water, playing in the waves, exclaiming every time we saw a school of silvery fish flash by.
I’ll never forget the night we ate at the Asian restaurant, Spice, and Mom discovered that maybe margaritas aren’t so very bad after all! She had so much fun that night and kept us laughing out loud the whole time we were there. (She went on to discover that Dos Equis isn’t a bad beer, either, during lunch one afternoon in Playa del Carmen.)
There are so many moments from that trip that I have locked away—in photos and in my memories. I’m so happy that we all got to experience that trip together.
Just a few weeks ago, Tori and I took our annual trip to the Smoky Mountains. We rented a cabin a few miles outside Gatlinburg, up the steepest driveway I’ve ever encountered! It unnerved us quite a bit when we arrived to find the front door unlocked and hanging open. It wasn’t dark yet, so we explored to make sure we were alone and about jumped out of our skins when the pinball machine that was upstairs in the loft started talking. It took us a while to settle down after that, but with the help of an episode of Pretty Little Liars, we were able to chill and sleep well that night.
It was one of our more laid back vacations down there this year. We didn’t whitewater raft, which we often do. We hiked, but we chose trails that offered waterfalls at the ends of them instead of mountain peaks. We shopped, but we avoided the outlet mall. We did take a haunted tour of Gatlinburg, which was big fun, and in the process, got to see a bear! There’s only been one year that we’ve been in the Smokies in the last nine years that we haven’t seen a bear, and every year except this year we’ve seen them at Cades Cove, in the national park. This young one was hanging out behind a church downtown, and we startled it as tour group approached. He ran off down a hill, and we continued on. It was big fun!
As much as I did enjoy the trip to the Smokies and my time with my daughter—and believe me, I did. (She’s growing up so fast, I’m trying to savor every minute I have with her here at home.) There was no denying that I missed my husband on this trip. We’ve become a good threesome, Terry, Tori, and I, and it felt like a piece was missing when we were apart. I figure that just means I’m really blessed—I have a daughter who I love so much and who still enjoys spending time with me, and I have a husband who is generous enough to give us our time girl-time and who I miss when we’re separated.
This has been a good summer. It was the summer that Tori got her first job—which she actually likes, thank God. It was the summer that I really got serious about freelancing and am now working on turning it into a true business for myself. It was the summer that I ALMOST finished my newest novel. (I’ll finish it soon, I swear!!)
So, as I said, I’m sorry to see the Summer of 2011 end. I’m not eager for the school year, for myself, but I am excited about the fact that it’s Tori’s senior year. She has so much to look forward to—beginnings and endings, both. I’m grateful to be her mom and to be witness to the amazing woman she’s growing up to be. I pray to God that we all have many, many more summers ahead of us.