I have a tan. A real, live suntan. Those who know me should be stunned by this news. Also? I got this suntan even without a sunburn…even more stunning, I know. Vacation this year was really good. Really, really good, and something Steve and I both needed. It was a whole week of just being lazy: lounging by the pool and lounging on the beach and reading. I read TWO books in one week. Ca-ching! It was a week of watching our girls perfect their swimming techniques. For Lucy, it was just getting back into the groove of swimming again after a long winter. For Zoe, it was actually learning how to swim without floaties – and she did it! It was a week of collecting shells and sand dollars and taking early morning walks on the beach to see what washed up while we slept: mostly jellyfish and other weird stuff. It was a week of Lucy figuring out the southern drawl – and slipping it into conversation at the most perfect moments. Of Zoe deciding that she and her sister were more alike than different, perhaps signaling a real change in their relationship? Meh, I’m not that starry-eyed. But, it was nice while it lasted. I have to say, though, that the part of our trip that has stuck with me, in fact, keeps haunting me, is something that happened in the first two days we were there.
I am a light sleeper. Thanks, kids! I’ve never been a very good sleeper (aside from maybe in my late teens and early twenties when I was a lazy fool) and I literally jump up at the slightest sounds. The second day we were there, I woke up to what I assumed was someone getting lucky in the next condo. I laid there for a while, thinking, “jeez! 4am is a little early OR late for this squealing, but whatever.” And then I started getting pissed because I realized that it wasn’t someone getting lucky, it was a child screaming bloody f’ing murder. It took me about an hour, but I got back to sleep. And the next morning, I woke up furious at the parents who thought it was totally fine to let their child scream and cry in the middle of the night. (I need to say that I was the mom who would go and pick the girls up if they started crying while we were either A: on a trip in someone’s home or in a hotel, or B: ever if I thought they would disturb someone.) I’m all about the child learning to sooth himself, as long as I don’t have to hear it at 4am.
So, the next day, my family and I were out on the beach and next to us sat a big family with a bigger umbrella. Under it, was a special needs child. I don’t know what the child’s story was, but after hearing the child wail uncontrollably when the mother put on his sunscreen, I knew that this was the night-time squealer. I felt like a giant asshole. I honestly had the wind knocked out of me as I processed what I was feeling the night before (anger) with what I felt at that moment (sadness). I came home from this vacation with a pretty awesome suntan, that is true. I also came home from this vacation with the reminder that you never, EVER know what a person’s story is. Ever. I was humbled by the experience, and while it was something seemingly simple, it is something that will stick with me much longer than my suntan.