I want the sweet, sweet life…living by the salty sea

We’ve made it back from our family weekend at Sea World. It was an interesting trip that I’ll have to tell you about, but I have a few other things to put out there first. I’ve often been a believer in the fact that one should always possess dreams, visions and goals for themselves. I’ve also heard, and believe, that these should be written down somewhere. A tangible reminder of the things you want and need to do. The Hubs is really good about this. He’s always got a notepad or notebook that he’s making notes in. When we decided to change how we managed our finances a few years ago, we sat down together and wrote down what we wanted. We need to update our list, but for now, we’ve succeeded in our goals.

One of the things the Hubs and I have going for us is that we basically grew up together. We met our sophomore year of high school. During the truly formative years, where one is forming values and morals; the years where for the first time, you’re responsible for making decisions that will affect the rest of your life, we were together. We talked a lot. About everything. And I really think that our foundation as a couple is so strong because of those early years together. We’ve been through so much together. Including, most recently, the tragic loss of children. We chose to allow that experience to deepen our relationship and not come between us. Because of that foundation, and the fact it was just the 2 of us for so long before we made our decision to have A, we have a really hard time letting go of dreams and goals we have. I feel that so often, parents give up on their desires and dreams for the sake of their children. Now, I’m no stranger to giving up something for the sake of my child, but I don’t necessarily think it has to be a way of life. I’ve noticed that things seem to take longer to happen the older I get. Instead of a race car going from 0-60 in under 4 seconds, changes are more like a freight train. They take a while to get going but once they’re moving, almost nothing can stop them. Except the engineer operating the train. I’m not entirely sure when this train started to move. I figure someday, if I think about it hard enough, I can figure it out. So many things have changed since we lost the twins. I have a different perspective; on life, on stuff, on the little things life throws at us. I find myself more fearful of tragedy. I worry about my husband, I worry about my child and I worry about my unborn child. I fear that someday my husband won’t make it home from a business trip. I fear that something terrible will happen to my daughter and I will be powerless to stop it. I fear that this little baby wriggling around inside of me will suddenly die and once again, I will have to deliver a dead baby. Good things have happened too. I’m more committed to my family. I’m more committed to my husband. I’m more committed than ever to delete the unnecessary drama from my life. I’ve started writing. People close to me, especially my dad, have been on my case to write for years. He would be so very proud of all this blogging…perhaps I’ll share it with him someday. The loss of the twins triggered our out-of-the-blue, decided in the hospital room trip to Antigua. That trip was awesome. Looking back though, the most amazing thing about that trip is the story I’m about to tell you. I’m about to write down our dream and our goal that we are currently working towards.

We spent 3 nights in Antigua. Not long enough, but at the time I didn’t think I’d want to be away any longer. We had planned to land in Miami, drive to the Florida Keys for dinner and to look around (we’d never been) and spend the night in Miami before boarding the plane back to DFW the next morning. It took us much longer to get out of Antigua than we had planned and by the time we landed in Miami, it was getting dark. We were both in the mood for some fried shrimp and almost, almost, gave up on heading to the Keys. You cannot appreciate how close I was to calling the whole thing off. Instead, we hopped in the rental and headed out of Miami as the sun was setting. The islands of the Keys stretch from Key Largo down to Key West. Key Largo is about an hour from Miami where Key West is closer to 3 or 3.5. So we used the iPhone to find some fried shrimp in Key Largo and headed off. It was a creepy experience to be heading through the Everglades in the dark. I felt scared. Not sure what I was afraid of, but if we’d had car trouble there was no way I was getting out of the car. Once you pass the Everglades, you’re surrounded by water, but since it was dark we couldn’t see it. We found the restaurant with no problem and headed into a neat little establishment with great service. The food was really good and I just had a good feeling about the place. It doesn’t take me long to decide if I like a place or not. I only need a few moments, my first impression always, always, always lasts. I had a good feeling about the Keys. The restaurant sits on the bay so after dinner, even though it was dark, we decided to take a look at the dock. The dock was an L-shape jutting out over the water and had no hand rails. Just a wooden dock, open on both sides. I refused to walk out on it. I’m a scaredy-cat and particularly fearful of being eaten by a shark. Looking back, I think the fear was supernatural…but that’s a whole different discussion. Just as I think so many things about that couple of hours was supernatural. But the Hubs ventured out, down the dock and around the corner of the L-shape. After a few minutes he yelled to me, “B, you’ve gotta come see this.” My heart was racing, I was convinced I was going to go through the wooden slats or fall off the side, but I went to him. When I got there, it took my breath away. The bay of the Florida Keys is still water. And clear as day. The restaurant had flood lights mounted under the dock so you could see into the water at night. It was like watching a live aquarium. Fish, plant life, coral, rocks, shells, you could see it all. It was beautiful in so many ways. And it was beyond amazing to watch. It hit me almost immediately as I stood there in amazement on the dock that just moments ago I was certain would be the death of me. “I want to live here,” I said to Hubs. “Right here, I want to be able to look at this every night.” And I meant it. Every word. Never in my life have I felt so drawn, connected, to a place (that’s not true, I felt the same way about Texas A&M…and I found a way to make that happen). It was like there was a small candle lit inside of me and in that moment, someone poured a whole bottle of lighter fluid on the flame. It was a roaring fire. It was like finally being home; I could breathe. In those precious moments I spent standing on a dock in the Florida Keys I had affirmation that I knew where I was supposed to be. Months later the Hubs would admit he saw it in me too. He told me he hadn’t seen that kind of passion in me for quite some time. Said it was something in my voice. The truth is, both of us have been drawn to the water for years. No idea why, neither of us spent an extraordinary amount of time near the water as kids. We love the beach, the ocean, the lifestyle. The conversation we had this weekend was about how amazing it is that God put the 2 of us together and gave us the same.exact.vision. If we could each draw a picture of the life we wanted to live, it would be the same. And it would include sand, the ocean, lots of hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. It includes evenings on the patio with sangrias and margaritas and good friends. It would have lots of palm trees and the sound of lapping waves. It also includes a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears to get there because we don’t just want to go, we want to GO.

The other major positive change that has happened is the Hubs’ desire to own his own company. It’s something he’s always wanted to do, and I mean always. Think lemonade stand as a kid always. After going through the loss of the twins, you’re reminded life is too short and you’re more willing to take (calculated) risks. If it doesn’t work…big deal. Chances are, it will work, determination is on your side. After years of me shooting down every idea he’s come up with, I think we’ve finally landed on an idea that’s perfect. It suits him, allows him to operate in his strengths, and can start small and grow completely dependent on how much he wants to put into it. In order for us to make this move, he has to be his own boss. And we’re both willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices to get there. Hubs is still ironing out some details, but I suspect he’ll give this new thing a go within the next couple of months. I foresee it going very well.

So, wow, those are 2 major things we want to accomplish. We want Hubs to own his own business. And we want to move to the beach. And I don’t want to be 50 before it happens. I’m not in a huge hurry to pick our family up and move while A and hopefully Earl are still so young and dependent, but I don’t want to retire at the beach…I want to LIVE at the beach. Like I said, it’s a freight train. It takes a while to get going. But once it starts moving, the only thing that can stop it is the person operating the train. Our train is moving, and we’re picking up steam, and the only thing standing in the way of our dreams, is us.

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