Regular visitors to my blog may have noticed a lack of new posts over the past couple of weeks. I was on vacation!
Two weeks with family on a Disney-Palooza extravaganza. I didn't check e-mails, write, tweet (much), Facebook (excessively), work at my day job or worry about much of anything for two weeks.
This was a trip of firsts. My first cruise (loved it!!!). My first time to the Bahamas (great water and snorkeling, but humid - oh my!). My first time parasailing (can I have seconds please?).
Trying new things gives us a different perspective and a change in perspective can energize our creativity. Parasailing set me above it all, flying over the water like a bird. I looked out and saw the entire island. From that height, the people disappeared. It was quiet. I was alone with the wind whipping my hair.
Perspective. Even from a few stories up, it becomes apparent just how small we are.
Snorkeling in the ocean with my daughter - another first. Oh, I've snorkeled before, but never with her. Holding her hand gently as we flippered our way out into the ocean, hovering over a reef teeming with sea life. She was a bit afraid. But I am so proud of her for conquering the fear and diving in to the deep beneath.
As we swam I looked over and saw her eyes wide and twinkling with excitement, her face beaming under the snorkel mask. Holding the hand of my baby - a hand that was once tiny and so in need of me. A hand that is now close to the size of mine. We had only an hour there, together, swimming with the fishes. But it was one of the best hours of my life. We shared a hidden treasure together that day. I held her hand as she ventured one step closer to her independence.
Perspective. Does it get any better than this? Holding the hand of someone you love as you experience something amazing together.
Later that day, we took a horse-drawn carriage ride through Nassau, Bahamas. If you're picturing a grand carriage with a gorgeous, well-groomed horse like you might see around Central Park, stop it!
Picture instead a rickety buggy, with chipped pink paint covering countless previous coats. You step up into the back seat and reach for a receipt in your pocket to use to wipe the bird poop off of the seat. The horse is so dusty and old, her straw hat so torn and moth-eaten, you wonder if she's really alive at at all. Against your better judgment, you get in.
But the horse was alive and she pulled that cart as we tooled around downtown Nassau. She didn't pull us over to the Atlantis resort side of Nassau. No, we got the tour of the real Nassau, the one not shellacked over for the tourists. It was a brief, 30-minute ride, but it was enough to reveal the poverty in every corner of the town. Run down. Seen better days. Reliant on tourist dollars. That is what I saw from my perch on the bird-poop soiled back seat of that carriage.
Perspective. Be thankful for what you have. Be aware of so many with so little.
A cruise. Disneyworld. Time with extended family and a day at the beach. We enjoyed all of it. But I think we had just as much fun over our long weekend at home after we got back.
Perspective. It's not about where you are, but who you're with.
Today I dropped my daughter off for her first day of summer camp, 2012. After I signed her in, I planned to help her get oriented. She said, "I've got this mom."
And she did have it under control. An old pro now at the summer camp thing. One more thing she doesn't need my help with any more. But perhaps there are more hand-holding moments in her future - more first steps into the great beyond when she'll reach for my hand.
Our time together is precious. Maybe that's what vacations are really about. Sure adventure is great. Relaxation is required. Buffets are awesome.
But the thing I'll remember most about family vacation 2012 is the look on her face when she discovered the world beneath the surface while holding my hand. Priceless.