Last week my kids had a full week off from school- this in spite of the fact that we’ve had so many snow days they’ve hardly been in school anyway. But to make the most of our week together and to escape from the cold, my husband and I loaded up the crew and the dog into our bus and headed south down to New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where my brother has a condo. Steve and I “power drove” all day Saturday- we left it 2:30am and arrived at 7:30pm. And in typical fashion, I brought not only my laptop but several the folders packed full of things that I intended to do during quiet times on her vacation things- like working on my new site (launching next month), outlining ideas for Momof6 blog posts, I even brought along a folder stuffed with ideas and notes for our family’s 2014 budget. Yep- that’s me… always trying to stuff in a bit of work along the edges of my life.
Now usually when we are in Florida during the winter months, the weather is disappointing- either it is overcast or rainy, or the temperatures are only in the 60s- preventing sane people (adults) from swimming in the pool or the ocean (of course my kids will still jump in no matter what!). But this week was spectacular! The weather was in the upper 70s, it was sunny with bright blue skies every day, and most mornings there wasn’t even a breeze on the beach- so you could sit out in the sun watching the dolphins play in the surf while you enjoyed your morning coffee. It was far more than I ever could’ve hoped for.
I’m proud to say that I seized the moment! I put aside my laptop, I didn’t open a single folder that I brought down with me, and I spent the week enjoying myself with my family. I watch my kids comb the beach looking for seashells, and I helped my daughter find dozens of sanddollar pieces (although a whole intact sandollar remained elusive to us). One morning we headed west to Blue Springs State Park because we had heard that the manatees were warming themselves in the 72° water in large numbers- and what we found there was glorious!
More than 100 manatees basked in the crystal clear waters!
We saw Mommas with babies, and we stood there in hushed appreciation listening to the manatees surface and blow air out their nostrils before resuming their underwater sunbathing.
We made plans to return to this serene location to do some swimming over the summer when the manatees return to the St John’s river….. but then we saw this guy-
and decided that we would leave the springs for the wildlife to enjoy!
We enjoyed plenty of fresh fish and local seafood when we ventured out for lunch or dinner, and one afternoon had the amazing privilege of watching a dolphin and a pair of pelicans chase after fish in a shallow lagoon. The dolphin swam in tight circle, chasing the fish (who narrowly escaped), and the pelicans were clearly annoyed by the dolphin stealing their prey and made their unhappiness known by chasing the dolphin whenever he surfaced)! We watch the Olympics in the evening, we relaxed, we laughed together- and on our last night, the kids even had a chance to watch a rocket lift off from Kennedy Space Center as they stood on the beach watching! On our drive home we agreed that was one of the best weeks we have had in a long time.
So this month I am celebrating that happiness is about being in the moment- making sure to sit up, take notice, and appreciate what’s going on around you. For the rest of my life I will have a memory of this beautiful week, and for that I am deeply grateful.
Need more inspiration to find happiness? Check out how women all over the country are finding joy in mothering. We’d love it if you’d join us by sharing a post of your own, checking out the Happy Mama Movement Facebook page, or sharing your #HappyMamas moments on Instagram (just use the hashtag).