Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sand or city, home is where the heart is...

Tap.     Tap.

Is this thing on?


I can hear Mother Gulf saying "Welcome back, Tiff, we have missed you"

I'm back from paradise. We just spent a week among the powdery sand of Crescent Beach and I have a renewed sense of self and a peace that I haven't felt in a while. There is something about the sound and smell of the ocean that soothes my soul. I am never happier than when I am with my family, but being with them at the beach makes my heart sing. I loved getting up every morning and heading down to the water to hunt sea shells as a family. These are the memories that I will always treasure. To paraphrase the great philosopher, Dr. Suess, 'my heart grows two sizes' when I sit on the shore line and watch my three greatest, goggle-clad loves, dive for the booty. It's in those moments of complete simplicity that I realize that I am, indeed, the luckiest gal in the world.

Home is where the heart is, and at this particular time, home is diving for shells in the Gulf of Mexico.

While we were out and about, Ali found a shirt that she said was "SOOOOO me". Upon seeing it, I agreed and it was my first souviner from the trip.

This pretty much sums me up

 When I go to the ocean, my goal is always the same;
   1) OD on Vitamin D *tan fat looks WAY better than pale fat*
   and finally
   C) Find drift wood, sea glass, and a shark tooth
The first two are always easy to do. Option C, however, usually presents itself to be a challenge. However, on this trip to sandy heaven, the stars we aligned. We set sail (technically, we set gas pedal) to the black sands of Casperson Beach where we heard we would have a good chance of finding shark teeth. Well, when I heard this my ears perked like Hanks when we ask if he wants to get the paper. We readied our goggles and colanders (what else would rednecks use to sift through the bottom of the ocean?), and hit the hotter than Haities sand of Casperson. Two hours later, we left there with 17 SHARK TEETH, A PEA SIZE PIECE OF SEA GLASS AND SECOND DEGREE BURNS ON OUR LOWER DIGITS! #sharkteethwhisperers #blisterydermis #ouchbutsoooooworthit

Some of the teeth we found, plus the little piece if sea glass
Truth be told,  my trip was made at that point. We could have come home then,with only a mild tantrum on my part, but we had 5 more glorious days to use up! We strolled the lovely Siesta Key Village, where I saw this signage on the side of a building. I WILL make it a part of my kitchen somehow!!!!

We took nightly walks along the beautiful Gulf, where we saw this awesome sight.

But best of all, we did this stuff as a family. We made memories, and relaxed, and laughed... TOGETHER!

Home is where the heart is, and at this particular time, home is holding hands on the beach, reading her required reading for honors History (Ali, who would not let me get her picture while nerding it up), and playing soccer on the beach.

But, like everything, this too must come to an end, so on Friday night we started packing and 'getting our affairs' in order. (I know I make it sound like a death, but the end of vacation kinda is, is it not?) I got the postpartum version of 'the sunday blues' and moped around the condo, not even trying to hide my sadness. I would soon be back in the land of too many people and too many obligations.

We board the plane (an hour late, due to some sort of delay. SEE, even Florida is trying to tell me not to leave) and begin to taxi toward home. My sadness starts to dissipate as I realize that we are together and have provided the girls with memories that they will always have. This alone makes my heart smile and I am am ALMOST as at peace as I was lounging by the ocean. ALMOST.

Home is where the heart is, and at this particular moment, home is at 30,000 feet in American Airlines Flight 1818.

Sadly, there are no palm trees in or near Sears Tower (I will NEVER be Willis Tower!)

Turning into my driveway, I am filled with a happiness that I didn't feel in paradise. I am where I am supposed to be at this point in time. The Lord has put us here, in this house, in Illinois, for reasons we don't know, or question. We are together and about to be reunited with Hank and Z. Our family is once again complete. And, as a welcome home gift, He has set my hydrangea bushes on blooming overload for our return. 

Home is definitely where the heart is, and at this particular moment, it's in the Northwest 'burbs of Chicago, watching backdated DVR shows, surfing the internet for cars, making plans with friends that they haven't seen in a week, and peeing on the weeds that are in desperate need of pulling.

The girl in the blue gingham dress was so right. There really is no place like home. And I'm glad to be here.