Running away is typically not a good idea, but this time I made an exception.
I’d been invited to a couple of events in Florida (more on that when I’m back) and planned a vacation around them. The kids were super-excited.
Then my dad died. I was caught up in the logistics of his funeral and weighed down by the grief. Meanwhile, I hadn’t finished tying up all the details of our trip.
Cancel it, I thought.
Don’t cancel it, I thought. Do it for the kids. Dad would have told you to to go.
I am one of those people who can function under any circumstances. It’s something I inherited from my father, who was incredibly pragmatic. It got me through Max's time in the NICU. I was despondent but still I looked up all sorts of information, connected with Early Intervention, found a place for Max to get supplemental therapy, handled the insurance company, and dealt with paperwork. It's the way I was raised.
“Go to Florida,” said my friend Wendy, who has lost both her parents. “It’ll be good for the kids and for you, too.” She reminded me that she went to Florida shortly after her dad died, and while she wasn’t sure about it before she went, and she had bad moments while she was away, she said it was a good thing. “A trip should be a requirement for anyone whose parent has died,” she said.
So I got the trip planned. Today, we’re en route to Orlando; we're doing non-Disney activities. It’s beautiful in Florida and the kids are sunny, too. I’ve had my moments but I’ve been genuinely glad to see people I know and do some blog stuff.
Florida is the first place I ever traveled to, the first time I ever went on a plane. My dad planned it—he loved to travel. We went to DisneyWorld, and stayed in a city with a funny name. “Kissimmee, Daddy!” I’d say to him. We went to Busch Gardens, too. And ate lots of oranges.
We’re taking the kids to SeaWorld. The last time I was there was with my parents. I’m sure it will look different. I don’t know how it will feel.
Right now, though, we’re in a car cruising down a Florida highway, and I’m taking it one mile at a time.