I tried to post last night but for whatever reason my computer was in SLOW motion. Even when I typed, my fingers would have been typing THIS, while the computer would have been showing "I tried..." I guess it just needed a break because it seems to be back in motion today. Of course, today I have very limited time. The story of my life. :)
Recently we have been asked a time or two where we are going for vacation. I typically joke, "We are going to play in the oil at the Gulf." It is kind of amusing to watch...typically eyes drop as the other person responds in pity, "Oh, I am sorry."
The thing is we are willingly choosing to go. As you know, the beach is my little bit of heaven every year. I don't look like a beach bum. I am pale as a sheet of paper. I burn easily and am now reduced to wearing hats to protect my scalp. I don't look remotely good in a bathing suit and I won't even wear shorts much of the time. However, the beach is like an oasis to me. I could really sit for hours just listening to the waves crash upon the shores. I love to take walks barefoot in the sand, to find seashell treasures, to smell the salty air. I sometimes wonder if I wasn't made to live near the water and have often wondered if given a short time to live if I wouldn't go there. It is just my little bit of calm in a very stressed life of kids, house, responsibilities, work, etc.
There are SO many places I want to go on vacations, like the Grand Canyon (with kids), San Francisco again, Chicago (for a long weekend), NYC (for a long weekend), Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/Amish country, etc. I really do want to. But most of the time we are limited to how much travel we can do with our schedules and more importantly our bank accounts. And the thought of giving up that week at the beach...well, I shudder to think.
It is usually in about January when we are in the dead of winter that I start to dream of it. I can almost feel the warmth of the sun shining down on the sand. I can imagine myself on the balcony in the morning, listening to the waves wash ashore. So the beach search starts.
Last year we had a wonderful time at Destin, but this year due to finances and time, we chose to stay a bit closer to home...Gulf Shores (Redneck "Riviera"). It isn't quite the same as Destin, but it is still the beach. I love the Gulf. The water is typically a bit warmer, and you can walk a long way out and still have the water only come to your knees. That is such a comfort with children. I would love to visit the beaches on the East Coast again, but the Gulf is where my heart is.
When I first hear about the oil "spill", for some reason, that seemed so removed from me. I felt so sad for the families who lost loved ones. We have a member of our family (Mark's side) who does work out on the water. But it still seemed a world away.
When I finally did realize that the oil "spill" would have some global effects, my heart hurt for my precious Gulf. It also hurt for my children. We look forward to this all year. Our daughter asks constantly when we are going back. (Our first big vacation with her involved the beach) Just today, our youngest asked me if it was summer and we were going to the beach. (Sidenote: Mark enjoys it but I don't think it is quite the same for him as it is for me!)
Since then, I have struggled with whether we are doing the right thing. This is not the vacation I imagined. What about my love for walking along the shore and feeling the waves wash up on my toes? And how about my children? Our tradition is as soon as we arrive, they go running out into the ocean water fully dressed?
After much discussion, prayer, search/research, we have decided to continue with our vacation. We will not be getting in the water. I had already decided that based upon some things I had read about the safety of it currently, then it was further confirmed through swim advisories in the area. Thankfully, most of the seafood (which is one of my favorite things to do while there...eat!) does not come from that area. We can still walk along the beach, just not close to the water. I have been researching things to do and actually have a longer list of things to do in the area (not ocean related) than days we have there. There is a big concert that just came up all of a sudden one day we are there...we will probably stay close to "home" that day because of the masses of people in the area. But otherwise, we are going to get out and explore. Mark has a couple of golf opportunities, and we have a swimming pool in our complex.
Will it be the same? Not quite. I will miss the ocean water. My heart will hurt to see the oil and to see the wildlife affected by the oil ; a friend of ours visiting the coast this week saw a rescue of an oil covered dolphin...it died :( Seeing the beautiful white sand stained is an image I am not completely prepared for.
But we will be together. We will still hear the water (and maybe a "glub, glub"...just kidding...I have to laugh or I will cry) on the shore when we wake up in the morning. And hopefully that tropical storm will stay AWAY.
We will just make the most of it.
PS Today I explained to our youngrst again that we were going to the beach. He said, "We not get in the water...it is yucky!" I told him he was right but that we can get in the swimming pool. He screamed, "Yeah!!!!" So he is thinking positively anyway...