When I chose gratitude and mindfulness for the month of June, I knew it be the perfect topic for a number of reasons. Specifically because we were going to be taking a family vacation to Florida and I wanted to be fully present and just enjoy the vacation. This vacation was the first vacation we have taken as an (almost) entire family. I’m talking 22 adults, 4 children and one totally sick house, on arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Although trips like this take a lot of planning and future oriented mindset, which in many ways is the opposite of mindfulness; I knew that once we got on our vacation that I wanted to live in the moment and enjoy every second of it. Throughout this past week I took a break from my phone which for me was amazing, and probably annoying to anyone trying to get in touch with me. I tried to just enjoy my time with all my family, as it is rare that we are all together, especially for a significant amount of time.
And although I didn’t personally take many photos, what I do have are incredible memories of some moments that I can only begin to describe as as close to perfection as I can imagine. I don’t have photos of the impromptu midnight dance party with my cousins and their significant others, but the sound of our laughter echoed through the house. I don’t have photos of us running into the ocean in the middle of the night, but I have a clear picture in my mind of us laughing hysterically as we fell running through the dark. I watched my children play for hours on end with their cousins, grandparents, Aunt and Uncles, and My heart was filled with so much gratitude that we were able to experience a trip that was a once in a lifetime experience.
I think there is one aspect of this trip that will continue to warm my heart in a way that brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it; my uncle was able to experience the beach for the first time in his life. At the age of 16 his school bus for struck by a semi-truck, leaving him paralyzed. Prior to this vacation he was never able to experience the beach, let alone be in a large body of water like the Gulf of Mexico. Before the trip we found a company that rents powered beach chairs so he could enjoy the beach with the family. Watching him enjoy the beach for the first time, and getting to be in the water for the first time while the sun set over the white sand and crystal clear water couldn’t have been more perfect if it was scripted. The whole family was there, in matching family t-shirts and it one of the beautiful moments that although it was documented by plenty of other people with cameras, I won’t need a photo as it is perfectly engraved in my mind. After a week-long vacation of laughter and sunburns it was exactly the picturesque moment needed to end the trip. As we leave behind the salty air and sand under our toes my heart is filled with so much gratitude for the opportunity to experience a trip like we did; a trip that I truly experienced, in the moment, with only a few photos to share.