I can't tell you what a tonic it was to drive across the bridge on to Anna Maria Island after an aborted departure due to a car break down, over $600 in repairs, and twenty hours on the road. We pulled up at around 5:30 P.M. Monday evening at the Anna Maria Island Inn (our third year in a row at this wonderful property; it looks we've got a tradition going!) and literally got right into the water. The rest of the family was already there: Uncle Roland and Aunt Colleen, cousins Landon and Nicole, along with her son, Grandma, Mom, Vince, Dawn & Jim and the kids, and we couldn't wait to join them.
|Our oldest son racing down to the beach just minutes after we arrived on Monday evening, July 15, 2013.|
What a joy to rest in the soothing water as the sun dropped low on the horizon. What a pleasure to gather around the table for a meal with all the family, to just sit and enjoy their company. In a very busy summer that was less time off and more of change of venues for work, this was the long-awaited rest, the real vacation.
But the next morning, after sleeping late to recover from the drive (I drove through the night and slept for only a few hours in the morning while Barbara drove, before I took the wheel again for the remainder of the night), I found my beach buzz seemed to be slipping away. There were a few reasons, the chief of which was the ongoing debates on Facebook about the verdict in the Zimmerman trial which had concluded only a few days earlier. One particular post really bugged me and left me feeling hurt and stressed. I realized two things. One, I needed something to soothe my frayed nerves. And two, I needed to take a break from Facebook and Interference and all the other usual online activities that took up my time. The latter was simply a decision. I made it and I honored it, ignoring the Facebook notifications and my e-mail inbox for the rest of our time at Anna Maria Island, only checking in Thursday evening when we returned to Orlando.
The former, the balm for my soul came in the form of a jaunt on my cousin Landon's sea kayak. He was getting ready to head back to Orlando, but offered to go out on the kayak one more time, if anyone was interested. I jumped at the chance, and after lunch, we headed out. It was just what I needed. The quiet of the sea, the rhythmic pull of the paddles, the vista of the island when we looked back--so reminiscent of my Saipan days, swimming out to the tank and looking back on the shore. Landon and I talked easily and enjoyed silence as well. I don't know how long we were out, it can't have been more than 30 minutes or so, but it was enough to restore my spirit. The perfect capstone to the moment was seeing dolphins,surfacing both in the distance and just a few lengths from our kayak. An afternoon storm was brewing and Landon had to get work, so we paddled back as the first drops of rain began to fall.
|My cousin Nicole posted this photo on Instagram of her brother and I after our sojourn on the sea in his kayak|
The rest of our time at the beach, and indeed our entire vacation in Florida was restful, restorative, and just plain wonderful. For the stresses and strains of daily life I can attest that, if you can swing it, there's nothing quite like a little beach therapy.
|Our youngest napping on the beach. His onesie says it all.|
|We're not dressed up, our hair isn't done, but this is one of my favorite pictures of our little family.|
On our last night at Anna Maria Island, Wednesday, July 17, 2013, we got the gang together for our annual family photo. The Official Photo will appear on this blog in an upcoming post. Below are some outtakes from that photo session that Barbara grabbed with the phone on her camera.
|I know our little one looks a little silly in this picture, but I love Barbara's eyes in this photo!|
|Me and my little boy. As part of my beach relaxation, I decided not shave during our time by the sea so I was looking suitably scruffy by the time this photo was taken.|