“To Us, Family Means Putting Your Arms Around Each Other and Being There. — Barbara Bush”
I woke up this morning, and do you know what I thought? “Today is the day. Today is the day that I’m finally going to write that post.”
The other day I was talking to my good friend Margaret about the wonderful post she’d written on her blog and how much I envied her that after eight months of starting her blog, it was still rolling. Margaret is one of those people where you look at them and wonder, “How do they do it all?” They’re at the top of their class, everyone loves them, they have a caring family, they hop on a plane three times a year to travel the world (speaking of which, for the next week she’s staying in North Carolina – send me a post card!!) and they overall just love life! If Margaret can do it, why is it so hard for me to do it?
I was asking myself this the other day and I was lying on my bed, staring up at the ceiling with what I fear was summer boredom kicking in. I like to believe that boredom is a state of mind – you don’t have to be bored. You can easily get off your butt and call up a friend or go for a bike ride or . . . even clean your room! It’s your choice on wether or not you’re “bored.” And yet – I couldn’t gather up the will to go and finally write that blog post I’ve been meaning to write for the past seven months.
I have this other good friend called S.L. who I’ve always been jealous of her close-knit family. She has no brothers and sisters, but that doesn’t mean a thing to her – her cousins are family. Her friends are family. Heck – the pizza delivery man is as good as family, too! So when she invited me to spend a week with some of her family at their cottage in Sauble Beach, I couldn’t be more ecstatic! I pictured spending fun-filled days tossing a beach ball around (even though I don’t like volleyball), splashing in the water and reading on the beach. I’ve never really had that whole beach house/cottage/house-on-water experience, so I didn’t really know what to expect. But I can tell you that it was more then I could ever have hoped for.
On Tuesday, when we visited this amazing grotto an hour’s drive away, I got sick. The “there’s-a-knife-in-my-stomach” kind of sick where it hurt to move. I won’t say much except for that it’s happened a few times before and it’s not a pleasant experience. So there was SL’s family – in the middle of nowhere with a sick kid in the backseat. I can not explain to you how embarresed and awful I felt about the whole situation. SLs family had come to enjoy themselves – not to spend the day looking after a person some of them barely knew.
This is the part where whenever I look back, a smile spreads across my face and my heart just fills with gratitude.
SL’s family met up with some extended family in a nearby trailer park, and I got to rest inside their trailer. They looked after me and treated me as if I was part of their very own and . . . maybe it’s just an Italian thing, but, well, I felt right at home, too. I still can’t believe that these two people who hardly knew me were so ready to look after me and give me what I need.
The rest of the week was one of those weeks that when you describe it, you basically just list ordinary things that ordinary people do, but somehow that’s exactly what made it so perfect: We went to the beach. Had sand fights. Giggled over cute boys. I learned how to play Botchi Ball. Stayed up late watching the History Channel. Had lunch at 4 in the afternoon. Burnt marshmellows together at late-night bonfires. We went to the boardwalk and did everything from sample the flavours at Dip N’ Dots ice cream, to drag one another to the Antique store (actually, that was just me, but we all did have fun). I had an unbelievably awesome time. Each one of the people that stayed at the cottage made it unforgettable, and I know that most of you won’t ever read this, but I wanted to tell you all how great of a time I had. So thank-you. Many people (and I was one of them) define vacations as exotic places you travel to and pay $2 for one postcard. But really, I think a vacation is just spending time with people you care about. And you’ve given me that.
(By the way, I am sending you all a telephathic hug . . . right now!)
And so the very first goal off my Christmas challenge is checked off – #26 – Express Your Gratitude. Thanks.