Recently, I got to spend the weekend with all four of my adult kids. It took a lot of planning, money, and sacrifice on the parts of the daughter and sons-in law to hold down the fort in my kids’ absence.
We gathered in Tampa for a wedding set on a cruise ship. After the ceremony, my youngsters disembarked, and I set sail for about five days. That was a vacation like none other. Great moments of relaxation and activity–and meeting new people. I like altitude not depth, but I did okay on the big boat! Didn’t fall off or get sick, and actually relaxed. Big stuff for lil’ ole me.
But back to the weekend with my two sons and daughters. From Indy, L.A., and Alabama, we found ourselves together. The jokes, pranks, and such were quick in coming. As we lounged at the pool, my two daughters went to the room to change. In about 60 seconds, I heard my eldest of 35 years, holler to the youngest, of 25 years, and then–without discussion I saw the smiles and knew. They were out to get their sisters.
Soon my youngest boy was hiding in a huge bin which held towels. My oldest boy, who pulled off looking innocent all of his life, played it cool. No sooner than the girls had returned when they ambled over to get towels out of the bin. As child number three opened the bin, out jumped her brother, yelling and acting all monster-like. She screamed and barely avoided stepping off into the pool. We all laughed and I just shook my head. In the span of one prank I was transported back in time….when this behavior was ongoing. They were kids again, and I was the younger, thinner and wearier mother wishing for them to grow up. Now, I was cherishing every moment they acted like kids.
There were so many other ‘just like yesterday’ moments. One kid taking too long in the shower. A cute picture ‘photo-bombed’ by a stupid expression of an older sibling. One of the boys asking sweetly for a sister to iron their shirt and pants. Arguments over whose clothes belonged to whom. A lie being told prior to the wedding by two brothers which had an upset sister begging them to quit golfing and get in their seats. As she walked out and spotted the two right where they needed to be, she smacked them both. Even one boy had texted her feigning a hole in one. Yep, they had her going!
There is something about a mother’s heart that is so elastic. But after a while, it loses its shape. It is as if my heart is a puzzle, and it is incomplete until the fit of each child is gathered to complete the picture. And that is how it was for me: I needed those four kids collectively to fill the the holes that occur when even one is missing. I cherished every minute we spent together, even refusing to leave the hotel room at night. I was not going to miss a sleepover with the offspring! Sure, the bed was crowded with the girls and myself wedged into a small space…but love made it comfy. Hearing the humorous retorts of my son and his brother’s giggles made it Heaven.
And then they had the rest of Saturday and Sunday to just be siblings. To simply hang out, dance, and talk, before their planes took them back to their perspective realities. I would have rather had another 24 hours with them, than to have set sail to the Caribbean. But maybe some day, we can set sail and cruise as one big family…kids, spouses, grandkids. Wow!
Boy…I am not sure Carnival Cruise Line is ready for my family circus!! Guess we’ll just have to keep the boys from jumping out of towel bins and scaring the passengers.