Whenever I think about what I want my family to get out of vacation, I keep coming back to two things. I want us to all get a break from our routine, and I want us to gain experiences to allow us to imagine life outside of the ruts into which we routinely fall. I want inspiration for imagination.
I will grant sometimes the inspiration leads to moments of priceless humor which in no way lessens the value of inspiration in my eyes. After a few days on our recent trip to Jamaica spent hunting for hermit crabs along the beach and under the peers, my son earnestly threatened J saying “If you don’t let me, I will make this hermit crab pinch your booby.” My wife and I looked at each other shocked and then burst out laughing. All of the seriousness in the situation was completely lost as all five of us laughed on the beach.
Yet again, our family enjoyed the sun, the beach, Michelle and Carmelina and all of the other guests at the FDR in Jamaica. J describes our yearly visits as the vacation we take so we can stay a family because otherwise we would go insane. I’ll post pictures when I can, but it maybe a while.
Recently, my daughter was made fun of at school and began to feel awkward having a water bottle with her in class. “Dad, when will I be able to stop drinking water during class? It’s bad enough I fart, but I feel them all looking at me when I drink.” The perils of second grade can be hell on emotional well being.
I told her to remember she is a miracle. She has lived through more than most of them ever will. She needs to remember she has lived through 4 or 5 (depending on how some exploration is counted) heart surgeries to deal with her pulmonary atresia, and she had a stroke. She has been sick enough to die multiple times. She has the scars to prove her courage and toughness. What’s more, she has bowels which aren’t moving food like they should. So she has a choice, either take the chance given to her by multiple miracles and drink the water or let the stupid things thought by 2nd graders rob her of the life she is lucky enough to live. I told her she is given a chance so many would love to have, but it’s her resilience which will make the rest of us look to her for inspiration. Then I had to explain “resilience.”
The irony is I ask her to be tougher than I am all the time. I tell her she and her siblings are my miracle, keeping me alive. We called the school to make sure the teacher is aware what is going on and how dangerous it would be for somebody with her heart condition to become dehydrated. We are debating as she enters a new school after our move next fall whether to schedule a class with her new school to explain disabilities and hers in particular.
It is hard to mention people’s lack of ability to see what others go through without pictures of K. Of course I find it hard to mention “not seeing” without pictures of her. There is hard to define justice in the joy I take from “looking” at her looking at the world around her. I wonder what and how much she sees. Then I marvel at the speed she chooses to live with reckless abandon.
On a somewhat related but funny vein, O’s class must have had somebody mention Nazis. He said he was thinking about them again when he heard about them in the Sound of Music. Then on Saturday morning, he said, “Dad, I think I know why they were called ‘Nazi.’ I think they could not see the goodness in different people.” I told him he can be very insightful at times, and I was glad for a morning of the thoughtful O (leaving out the “instead of the grumpy O who usually graces us in the morning”).