Last week we hit a huge milestone- our first real family vacation. Of course, we have traveled together before, and we LOVE our trips to visit family, but this was our first time to go somewhere we knew nobody and be camera wielding tourists. I had been hanging my hat on this trip and worried something would happen to stop it for MONTHS. Nothing did. We made it! We escaped the daily grind, the hundred hour work weeks, custody schedules, bills, foundation problems, Doctor visits, meetings, plans, pains, stresses and conundrums and we went to the beach.
It was phenomenal. South Padre Island isn't like any other part of the Gulf Coast that I've seen. The water is the delicious aqua hue of a perfect piece of sea glass, and crystalline as it washes over your feet. The mist in the mornings is so thick you can taste the salt as you breathe it in. The sand glitters in the sun. I'm not romanticizing it, it was that good. I ran on the beach in the mornings (beach running is hard!), we built sand castles- J destroyed sand castles. Emily boogie boarded. We played in the waves. We chased tiny fish that skipped through the outgoing tides. We ate seafood. We visited the Sea Turtle Rescue Center, The UT Pan American Coastal Studies Center, took a dolphin watch cruise and got to handle sea slugs, rays, starfish, and more. We hunted shells and identified wildlife from birds to plants to crabs. Em and Mike had a fishing trip for the ages. And we were only there 3 days.
Coming home was hard, for a variety of reasons. I had wished so hard for this carefree moment for my family. I had clung to the idea of escape and used it to get through tough times, and wasn't quite sure what to do when it was all over. And I LOVE the ocean. If I didn't have a binding custody agreement I would have moved my family to a coast long ago. It's hard to leave.
And even though we traveled with three extra bags just to handle our medical needs, it was a little vacation from CF, too. The night before we were to leave, CF made it's nasty self known. Not with Jackson, but in the form of hard news for a dear friend. Amberlyn has been my friend since just after Jackson's diagnosis. She was the first adult CFer I met online, and we keep in touch as much as we can. She's the kind of person I really want my kids to have as a role model. Instead of feeling sorry for the cards she's been dealt, she spends her time making the lives of others better in their own struggles. And I'll be damned if she doesn't just love J to pieces. In October of 2009, Amberlyn got a new pair of lungs and a second chance. Last week, she found out that she's battling rejection in those lungs. Her body recognizes that the transplanted organ is foreign, and it attacking as if they were the enemy. Her medical team is inundating her body with some heavy duty drugs to try to stop the progression. I've been thinking of her non-stop since I heard. Of her family and friends and loved ones, and her donor's family.
Logically, I know that what's 'fair' in reality means nothing. There should be a cap on the amount of pain and bullshit one person has to deal with, but there's not. And I can't imagine what that's like first hand, but watching it happen to your loved ones sucks. It makes me feel so angry and helpless. It also reminds me not to be wasteful with what I have. I don't have a neat little way to tie my subjects together today. There's bitter and there's sweet. There's reality, and escape. It is what it is, and I'll keep doing my best to make the best of what I have and hoping against hope that the people I love can continue to do the same.