Florida trip, Part 1.

3:38 PM

   So as some of you know, we celebrated Christmas in Florida this year with my Mom's side of the family.  What a time it was…..

   I will just be honest with you right and and tell you that it was not all peaches and cream.  We had a couple beautiful days at the beach, and those are the photos I'm going to share with you today, but don't let the sunny blue skies and endless white sand fool you….sometimes there IS trouble in paradise.

Randy and Charlotte were both sick on the trip, and each night felt like an endless cycle of coughing fits, tears, sleeplessness, and at times (my favorite), vomiting.  Let's just say that when I said "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health" I didn't realize the gravity of the situation.  I am a WIMP when it comes to playing nurse!  I catch myself looking around as if to say, "Where's the mom?  Who's gonna come clean this up?  Who's gonna come take care of these sickies?"  And then I realize….Oh yeah, that's me.  I am just the WORST caretaker.  Especially if I'm fighting a cold myself, as was the case on this trip.  I just want to curl up in bed and pull the covers over my head and have somebody WAKE ME WHEN IT'S ALL OVER.

   But moms don't get to have that privilege………..

Moms don't get to be sick.  If moms are sick, they still have to clean and cook and do laundry and take care of babies.  No sick days allowed.  No "days off".  They are perpetually on the clock, sick or not.  But that's enough complaining for one blog post….

   Needless to say, I learned a lot about myself on this trip and how MUCH I have to learn in the area of serving.  Sometimes I feel like I will NEVER arrive.  When will I be selfless?  When will I slay this beast of self-centeredness?  WHen will I defeat ingratitude?  When will I acquire humility?  When will I finally begin to serve and love like Jesus?

   I don't know.  But what I DO know, is that I am not there yet.  In spite of the sleepless nights, the hacking, sneezing, nose-wiping, salve-rubbing, bones aching nights, and all of us feeling a bit out of sorts….it was a good trip.  The sun was delightful, family was precious, and Christmas still came.

One very special part of our trip was our day at the beach celebrating Jocelyn's 3rd birthday.

   Oh, I had high hopes for her birthday this year.  I was going to plan a party with some of her closest friends, and for her sake it would be a princess theme, as she loves all things princess right now.  I was already dreaming up ideas of food and games and invitations when the realization slowly dawned on me….this is just not going to work.  You know when you realize in some small part of your mind that you're overdoing it but you're just not ready to admit it to yourself yet?  Yeah, that was me for almost the entire month of December.

 I knew that the last night of the pageant was on the 15th, and the Smucker Pelleting Christmas dinner was on the 16th, and we would be leaving the evening of the 18th, but I was just sure I could still squeeze something in on the 17th.  Oh, did I mention that our house still was not all settled from the move?  Yes, it was clearly too much.  But to me, a birthday is just not quite a birthday without a party.  But as I slowly let that expectation slip from my clenched fists, I found a sort of freedom.

 Life is not always Pinterest-worthy.

   With the tower of pink cupcakes and sparkling tiara party favors and sparkling balloons and tulle, tulle, everywhere.  Sometimes a 3-yr-old doesn't need a room full of her closest friends all in fancy dresses to celebrate.  Sometimes it's just her mama THINKING she needs that to properly celebrate.  Sometimes all she truly needs, is a day in the sun with those nearest her heart, (and of course a little birthday cake later on).  And so that's just what we did.

   God gave us such a beautiful day together and Charlotte loved the ocean much more than I even hoped that she would.  I will always treasure our pictures from that precious day.  It was before Randy and Charlotte were awfully sick, and we had no responsibilities or obligations and a whole day to play in the surf and the sand.  It was lovely.


Jocelyn dear, 

   I can hardly believe it's been 3 WHOLE YEARS since you were born.  I will never forget that day until the day I die.  So many emotions…… I was a little scared and it hurt a LOT but the whole thing was over SO FAST!  Your daddy was the best labor partner a woman could have, he helped me so much.  I didn't even know if I was going to have a girl or a boy! The suspense was mounting and mounting right along with the pain, and delivering you was by FAR the most excruciating experience I'd ever had in my life.  But oh…the joy!  A perfect, healthy, darling baby girl.  A tiny little thing, with a head full of dark hair and such dark, deep, soulful eyes. You won our hearts instantly, and will forever hold them. 

  You had a tiny, mewling little cry, and slept like an angel.  You were such a sweet, good little baby.  But now you've grown SO big and SO fast into the beautiful little girl you are today!  3 years old.  How can it be?  You like to play with babies, read books, paint, pretend, dress up, and most of all, help mama.  I love to make you say sandwich because you say "swimmich" and it sounds so cute.  You love hot chocolate and ask for it often.  You sleep in a big girl bed now, but sometimes you end up in ours.  You love hide-n-seek, watching movies, and going places.  You hair is long and thick and past your waist and puts mine to shame!  You are a tease and can pick on your sister but you truly, truly love her and show it often. You freely give hugs and kisses and are very in-tune to emotions and feelings.  "Mama sad?" you will ask, reminding me to find joy and give thanks for this wonderful life.  

   I can't tell you how grateful I am that God placed you in our family.  You are a joy, a gift, a treasure.  I am so lucky to be your mama.  You copy me more and more and it makes me so nervous….I don't feel worthy to be a role model!  But I will pray that with God's help, when you look up to me you will be looking up to Him, too. 

I will always be grateful to you for making me a mama first.

I'll love you for always,

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  1. Lovely!! We will love you for always.

  2. No sick days allowed for the Mom, how well I know.

    We are going to FL in March for a week and I almost despair at the thought. Taking 4 kids on that long of a trip is not for the faint of heart, and my heart is fainting already!

    Jocelyn is a beautiful little lady! Love your letter to her.

  3. The paragraph about how you feel when your family is throwing up...oh, so familiar. I don't know how often I've looked around for the mom only to find out I was supposed to be the grown up. :/ What a bummer to be sick on Christmas vacation in Florida!! At least you have one beautiful beach day to look back on. Your swimming suits are just adorable.

  4. Oh no!! I can so empathize with the sickness over holidays... We've had that happen too, and the disappointment of it all is just too much! And the wondering where the mom is, and then realizing it's you? Yes, that too... I'm so sorry your vacation wasn't what you hoped it would be.

    Beautiful beach day pictures - the little matching swim suits are so darling. And maybe a princess party when she turns 4 will be remembered better than when she turned 3. :)


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