Monday, November 23, 2009

Ladies, Have You Had Your Yorkie Today?

Lush. Humid. Cell phone usage triple the normal rate. Tree frogs whistling in the evenings. Dinner on the water lot. Dancing with dolphins. God-fearing, happy people with heart and hospitality. Where tennis was born. Minimum wage is $25. 183 steps to the top of Gibb's Hill Lighthouse. Where we rediscovered life, food, people, and our relationship with each other.


I was nervous. Okay, really nervous. Not the anxiety you usually feel when you’re late for work, or the clock is ticking on a really important deadline. It was the anxiety you feel when you wonder if you might be having a myocardial infarction, or if the left side of your body just feels numb and you also happen to be suffering from an irregular heartbeat. It’s ground zero in your stomach – that spot you think you can feel (maybe even see) oozing burning acid that may or may not spill up and into your esophagus.

I’ve presented at many events before without getting booed or bitten by anyone (that’s for you psycho New Moon fans), and I tried to remind myself of this as I boarded our midnight flight to Atlanta en route to Bermuda. I had never taken my entire family before. We’d never pulled an all-nighter together either, let alone on an airplane. Nevermind that our next stop was a four-hour layover. I had never had to carry so much equipment with me, from snorkel gear and sunscreen to a laptop and pantsuit with heels. It was risky. It could be a disaster.

But I wanted this to be my best effort. I wanted to make a difference. If I could inspire my audience it would be a successful trip.

I was inspired. Educators who wanted to make a difference in the lives of their students. Parents who refused to give up. Bermudians who are some of the most friendly, genuine folks I’ve met. Folks who exemplified something Neal A. Maxwell once said, “Those with true hope often see their personal circumstances shaken, like kaleidoscopes, again and again. Yet with the ‘eye of faith,’ they still see divine pattern and purpose."

I barely remember the last time we were able to enjoy each other as a family in that way. Raw. No internet, cell phones, distractions. It made me realize that while goals are good and work is a necessity, vacations are essential. They force you out of your box and into a new realm of creativity and life learning. In those seven days, I understood myself better; I connected with my kids and Sean on a fresh, unique plane. Perspectives changed. Hope renewed. Memories were etched into our time lines.

One person fell out of bed at 3 a.m. Three people swam with the dolphins (while two others watched in the rain with faulty ponchos). While on a ferry at night, we saw lighthouse beams that could be seen for 60 miles in all directions. We drank Ginger Beer. We ate Yorkies. Yes, I gobbled three over the course of the week. Once I saw that the package clearly stated “not for girls” I made it a point to eat as many of those rich, velvety chocolate bars as I felt like – despite in large, bold font the package also declared a 385 calorie count. Meow.)

We puddle jumped, and ate chicken fingers and fries almost every meal. We ate the marshmallows from Lucky Charms for breakfast and forgot to use our disposable underwater cameras. My psoriasis went away. Paper was moist. The Stud got taken under by a wave, but his big brother pulled him to safety. We saw good in each other, and bad too. But most of all, we were just there together.

One for another.