So we just returned home from a much anticipated beach vacation! My girls are 11 years old and 15 years old so we were happy to have a friend for each of them join us. We booked a condo at a resort-style community in Gulf Shores, Alabama, which we loved so much, and we were happy to take advantage of the many amenities they had to offer. Five pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, A café with a Starbucks, and less we forget all of that divine beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico! This was our fifth year of travel to Gulf Shores, and after a one-year hiatus to visit Disney World, Gulf Shores was beckoning us south in anindescribable way.
It’s funny though, I yearn to hit the ocean, and feel the crash as the tide slaps against my Midwestern body, to feel the sand slip from beneath my feet as each wave rolls out and the next slams in. I love watching my babies hop over the waves on the shoreline as they beeline toward the depths where they can leisurely float on their boogie boards (deemed useless in Missouri). Once they’ve settled into a spot worthy, I find myself admiring the beauty of that moment, after 12 hours of driving through the night, and a years worth of saving and planning, we’ve made it to the Gulf! How grateful I am to afford this opportunity to our family, and my two newly-adopted-for-the-week “daughters”.
That’s when it hits me! And it never fails, salt water in the eyes and along with that, the sting of reality…we are surrounded by wildlife! Fish and sharks and jellyfish, oh my! All of the “eeks” I’m bottling up behind the smiles as I wave to those 4 beauties I’ve just watched frolic into the home of these ocean beasts, sound like a thousand sirens going off inside of my head. I’m quietly, and irrationally paranoid, though rational paranoia is also appropriate. They come floating toward me as I looked toward the shore, oh! Here comes my husband with a flotation device and four sets of goggles!
Goggles, yuck! I think to myself how annoying they are, all of the adjusting and wiping fog and sand, they just aren’t worth a crap … or so I thought. My Katelynn, 15, thought it would be funny to see how I looked in her goggles. So for fun I slip them on and suddenly I’m knocked to the Gulf floor as I am caught off guard by a wave. I go under, facedown, with open eyes and just like that my entire world changes… Goggles!? They are amazing!! How did I not know this? All of those sensations I felt I could now see! And it doesn’t hurt! Somehow I, a 36-year-old woman, found security in these magnificent spectacles! This was an unexpected turn of events… Sure I look ridiculous, but a day looking ridiculous in the depths of the Gulf that I previously felt uncomfortable in, puts a lot into perspective for me.I’m suddenly aware of all that I’ve missed while being nervous, and fearful on the shoreline. Watching my family wave to me as I conceal fears with smiles and wild waves no longer! I’m now equipped with goggles!! Who knew they’d change the way I vacation for the rest of our lives!!