I was full of excitement and fear. The next day I would be boarding a flight all by myself and heading to Florida for a long overdue Mommy vacation. I was beyond excited to go because I had never done anything like this for myself, ever. However, in the same breath, I was terrified. I would be driving to the airport alone, checking my bag alone, going through security alone and boarding a flight alone for the first time ever, by myself. I would also be leaving my boys and flying to a different state for the first time ever, excluding work trips. I was abandoning them for selfish “me time”…at least that is what I had convinced myself of the evening before take-off. I was headed to an unfamiliar place, with no agenda, no plans…this was all new and uncharted territory for me. Even though my heart was full of excitement, my mind was flooded with all of the “what ifs”…..well…because that is generally how I roll folks. The only comfort I had in all the chaos that was storming through my mind was that once I reached my destination, I would have my very best friend of almost 25 years there waiting for me…and all would be well with the world.
Before boarding the flight, I prayed that God would help me to let go, relax, and “be where my feet were”, every day that I was gone. I wanted to take in every moment, every sight, every sound, every smell, every memory made…I wanted to slow down and savor it. I didn’t want to board that plane on Sunday night and not bring a thousand experiences back with me because I was too fixated on what we were going to do next or consumed with worry about what was going on or could go wrong at home.
Without even realizing it, when we arrived at the hotel I left my obsessive compulsive disorder in the parking lot prior to entering the building. We spent the next four days in heaven.
The things that I thought I needed at home in order to survive; always have a plan, a calendar, be organized, have a spotless house, dinner cooked every night (OK, almost every night) ensuring that everything was always in order and as perfect as I could make it….I didn’t do any of it for four days. FOUR DAYS.
It was completely amazing! We lived like complete pigs. We had no agenda… but did so many things that if we would have attempted to plan, we would have never accomplished. We saw so many beautiful things; eyes wide open. To name just a few…We cruised A1A Beachfront Avenue 🙂 with the windows down and listened to Reggae music. We put our feet in the sand and our bodies in the ocean. We drank from a coconut. We went without makeup, and I of course went without washing my hair most days (that’s not really anything new though). We ate amazing food, full of fat and unhealthy calories…but we didn’t care. We even found what we established as our local favorite restaurant and visited three times, just to be in the environment and eat their famous corn on the cob. We ate ice-cream for dinner and for midnight snack. We met a pelican and I fed pigeons from my hand. We watched the sun rise and set over the ocean and breathed in the salty air. I took my first Uber and trolley ride, got a Henna tattoo and collected coral and shells from the most beautiful ocean. We went out on the town in our bathing suits and cover-ups…because real clothes, brush hair and makeup are overrated. We drank Mimosas in the morning and chased it with beer all day while we remained parked in lounge chairs reading books….for TWO days! We made a thousand memories, and I will always cherish every one of them.
On the plane ride home, I sat next to a sweet lady who watched the sunset out the window of the airplane with us. She lost her first husband and a young age, and most recently lost her second husband who was supposed to be sitting next to her on the plane, returning home from a cruise. She made the comment, “You know… some people never get a chance to see a sunset that beautiful from here.”
It was then that it hit me. She was absolutely right. How blessed we were that we got to experience the most amazing four days together….just letting everything go and being present in the moment. Like a ton of bricks plowing me in the forehead, I realized that everyday could be like those four days…if only I would just let go. I like to consider myself a very thankful person, I practice thankfulness often, and I try not to take anything for granted….but I do. I did.
Prior to last week, I let things that should never really take priority, take priority. I would worry that the dusting needed to be done, the vacuum ran, I would not have the time to stop and give my full attention to every “Mommy” that I heard. In the back of my mind, I thought that making a mess in fun, only meant more work to do when we were done. So instead of being where my feet were, I would balance on one foot, while the other was frantically cleaning up…and not be present in the moment. I was short-changing my family…thinking that I was giving them all of the things that they needed…a clean home, balanced meals on the table, clean laundry…but if I’m gone tomorrow, I don’t want them to remember that mommy always kept the house clean. I want them to remember that Mommy tried, Every. Single. Day. and what was most important to Mommy, was them. Children don’t come into this world longing for things; a clean house, balanced meals, laundry that is folded away nicely in drawers. All they want and need is us. Our full presence. We do things that we think makes us better Mamas, things that fill our void and make us feel like we have our sh*t together. We are often times under the misconception that what fills us; will fill them. It won’t. It is a delicate balance, one which is often times hard to accomplish because there are just not enough hours that exist in a day to do it all. But at the end of those days, and the days that follow, it’s important to be where our feet are. The other stuff is just “stuff”, it’s not what memories are made of and the world is not going to come crashing down around us if some things just go undone. I get that now.
So, I left it there, my obsessive, compulsive behavior; I left it there. I’m sure pieces of it snuck in my suitcase and will try to escape every now and again. But I’m prepared to fight back, I’m prepared to do things more spontaneously, I’m prepared to look at the dust on the furniture and the crumbs scattered a muck as I’m down on the floor playing with my kids. I’m prepared to throw my phone on the counter when I get home from work, and not pick it back up until they are all snoozing in bed. I am committing to be more present in every moment and let the feelings of those four days, extend through a lifetime with my family and friends. In 60 years, I want them to reflect back on the life that we had together and know that I was there, every moment, every memory, heart and soul. I was there.
Be where your feet are.