Some people call it superstitions. I call it tradition. Culture. And a string to my past. Each time one of us takes a journey - be it 5,000 thousand or a hundred miles away, my Mom will have us recite a prayer for a safe journey back home with the Koran over our heads. The tossing of water behind our vehicle symbolizes a clean departure - dispelling any lurking evils that may want to follow along. Sounds silly when I write it - but the act of it never is. In fact, it's humbling and I cherish my Mother for upholding traditions like these from her youth with us - and I am tickled that I have Ava in on it already!
While we were outside saying our good-byes for our quick trip down south to Galveston, the kids were heating up in the car. Ava, dressed for the beach, was wondering when the AC would turn on.
And Noah sat patiently, always appreciative for riding in the car. But this time had no idea it'd be for 5 hours. After rummaging through their beach-themed road-trip bag [books, puzzles, crayons and notebooks] the two fell asleep with the lull of the drive as Aaron and I caught up after one month's of solid hard work preparing for this business trip.
The kids woke up in time for diaper changes and lunch at our usual pit stop. The food is home-cooking - nothing spectacular. But we adore their selection of sweets in the Country Store and games at the table.
When we arrived at the hotel, we were in heaven. To simply stretch. Plop the kids on a king size bed, and roll around. The kids each received a pirate bag with some loot [goggles, water guns, rubber duckies, etc.] And when reality came back, Noah called Grandma to let her know we arrived safely [another travel habit that has turned into a family tradition].
The next day was all work for me. I launched a new redesigned website and had the opportunity to speak with the organization's members to demonstrate the new online tools I created. While I was networking, Aaron and the kids took advantage of the conference and hotel amenities, beginning with the Make & Take craft project offered at the conference. Each of the kids made me a necklace, which I proudly displayed throughout the weekend with my work clothes.
Aaron braved the beach and the aquarium with the kids all by himself and returned by the afternoon with enough time for me to join in on the family fun. We swam in the resort's man-made beach with sand barged in from Florida and soaked in the sun. Afterwards we went to the playground, splash park, pool and bounce house...
We made smores and the kids loved every last chocolately bite before dinner. It's vacation I reminded myself. A little extra sweet is ok.
In fact, Ava so kindly reminded me that she could now have M&Ms. [Back in May, on our first family beach trip, Ava had M&Ms for the first time. I told her she could have these treats "only at the beach" with the intention that we won't be back until next year. I didn't realize my business trip would lead us to one - so soon.] And so... she did. And I realized for the first time how careful I have to be when setting such specific rules [ahem...].
We really enjoyed the hotel experience with the kids. Sharing a bed. Ordering in. Watching TV! But after two long days of work and little time for play, we decided to take a detour on our way home and visit the boardwalk town of Kemah. Less than half an hour away from Galveston, we fell in love with this little wonderland and enjoyed what summers are made of...street magic, carnival music, train rides, games, ice-cream, and the sun setting over the rippling water...
And as you already know - we are intrigued by carousels. Back home, our antique tin carousels sit behind a glass cabinet door, taunting the kids to crack it open for a quick glance almost every other day. Their patience was finally rewarded when we got them tickets to ride the most beautifully lit carousel that ever spun into a summer's night.
While the kids were choosing their horses, Aaron and I looked at each other. Exhaled. And simultaneously understood what the entire month of July had accumulated to: tag-team parenting so that I could work full-time, win a client's business, and make my family proud of me. The energy to do this? Came from the pleasure and joy of having them all join me on my very own carousel...That is always spinning in one direction...