It wasn’t the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.
This was one of my many, many thoughts when the road trip to Florida took many hours longer than I originally planned. But I made it there and now I’ve made it back home.
The first few days after returning home….not so much 🙂 I’ve been playing catch up with my normal home life. Which, in the summertime, is not normal at all. I haven’t found my groove with the kids home full-time. It’s highly doubtful that I’ll actually find it before it’s time for them to return to school.
The vacation I just returned from was just me and 4 kids. Yes, Four! We allowed the oldest to bring a friend this time. The first segment of the trip was to Old Town in Kissimmee, Florida. My family started going there some years back because they have the Saturday Nite Classic Car Cruise, America’s longest continuous running car cruise. My parents have participated in the cruise on some occasions, but this time was just a family meet up for the weekend.
Since today is Thursday, I’m including some of the interesting doors that I passed. I included the top one because it’s just too amazing to not be included in this post. The other sets are shown to consider the WordPress Photo Challenge this week of partners. If you want to see some other amazing doors, you can check out Norm 2.0, the host of Thursday doors, found here.
There were some other really neat doors for future posts, but I’m going to diverge at the path and continue on with the partnering theme. We met my parents, my brother, sister-in-law, and my two nephews. My kids have a total of six cousins. Due to the way life works out sometimes, there are mostly large age gaps. However, my brother’s oldest son is only three years younger than my daughter. My daughter and my nephew had a day of play on Saturday. Located next to the walking area of Old Town is Fun Spot America. It has carnival-like rides and go-karts.
I loved watching the two of them race along, laughing as they moved from ride to ride. It was a typical, hot day in Florida. The sun beat relentlessly as the storm clouds gathered in the distance. They paused in shade only long enough to drink some water before dashing away to the next piece of fun. They took time out to go through the obstacle fun house where the three-year-old could tag along. Then on to bumper cars, roller coasters, and go-karts….over and over. Even when the rain rolled in, it couldn’t diminish their fun. They moved to the arcade and battled each other in air hockey. When the rain passed, they were out again.
It made my heart so happy watching them. I grew up with a lot of cousins that were close to my age. There were large family gatherings where we would spend hours outdoors creating new worlds, exploring the woods, and chasing fireflies. Late in the evening, we would lay underneath the stars dreaming of faraway galaxies. Every now and then we would be convinced that we had seen an alien ship passing by.
I always wanted that kind of childhood for my own children. While life can’t be predicted and it didn’t turn out that way, I am so happy for these moments. Glimpsing the kind of love and camaraderie that can last a lifetime. I still have cousins with whom I can pick back up where we last left off. We can reminisce about our lives and they know me in ways that so many others don’t.
Family has always been an important component of my life. These two would pick back up on their fun when we traveled back to my hometown of Naples on the third segment of our summer trip. They already have years of memories to reminisce about and many more to create.
Let your light shine!
*also submitted for weekly discover challenge