This week I would like to acknowledge the holiday I was so fortunate to have with my husband and son last week. As a result, we put away our phones for the purpose of social media, only using them as convenient tiny cameras to document our son’s first tropical beach holiday.
We went to an all-inclusive, not for the drinks and party, like we have done in the past, but for the simplicity and stress-free living we would have for a week together, no distractions, no appointments, no work or school, no cooking or cleaning. Our biggest challenges were adapting to a 30 degree temperature swing (10 below to 25 above) and how to get the fine sand and it’s even finer gold flecks out of tiny cargo short pockets and bodily orifices. Life was overall good and gave us some much needed time to connect as a family unit of three.
It wasn’t all perfect and we had our share of sun burned necks, blisters from unconditioned flipflop wearing feet, sun stroke and a pretty notable fall (culminating in a goose-egg on head) day one by the oh-so-thoughtfully-placed ornamental fake rock next to the angular edge of the fake ship-wrecked pirates vessel that adorned the kiddie pool. And did I mention the difficulty with temperature regulation…once the sun stroke got its grip on him, it never really let go and he found the warm pool cold and the warm sun scalding, heat rash spreading over his fair cheeks. With all of this however, the 6 year old was less bothered by it than us; easily distracted by the nostalgic summer-feel of green grass under his bare feet, the exotic candy coloured blossoms as big as his face and the smooth grooves of the palm tree trunks. He marvelled daily at the surroundings, mindfully taking it all in, often smiling to himself and uttering his appreciation of this foreign landscape, void of ice and snow.
Our son’s body was the beacon that protected us all, we learned to slow down, find shade, wear extra applications of stronger than usual sunscreen, keep hats and sunglasses on, eat well but not too much, and drink less, way, way, way less (than our previous kid-free vacations). We got up early to claim shady lounge chairs, ate tons of fresh fruit, drank lots of water and were sure to enjoy at least one ice cream a day, at least one.
It was time well spent and we all needed it.
This topic is my Forgiveness Friday write for two reasons. One, I did not post a write last Friday because I was doing the aforementioned above. But more importantly two, I went on a week long holiday to Mexico while on a medical leave from my job. I don’t know what societal norms you were raised with, but I was brought up understanding that work always comes first. As a kid, we didn’t really have the extra funds to travel and so I hadn’t really left the time zone I grew-up in until I was in my early 20’s, travelling as an adult.
Even as I write this now, I can feel myself editing my actual thoughts and feelings. Perfect, idealistic Sarah frowning at the “perception” of what it must look like for someone to be off work for health reasons and to then leave the country for a bloody holiday…No way José, classic slacker move.. But Sarah 2.0 chimes in and says It’s okay, either way you will continue to have neck pain and migraines and anxiety, it doesn’t matter where you are on the planet, the convenience of these health issues means you can have them anywhere and anytime! Too true. I did have all my symptoms join me on our trip, but the benefits of a gentler clime, uninterrupted time with my son and husband and just an easier go of things for 5 whole days was good for my health and my family’s health and growth.
So this isn’t to give myself forgiveness for going on a holiday, its about forgiving my judgement of others in the past who have also done this during a time of struggle and challenge in their own lives. I am sorry to have felt I was in some higher moral position to pass discernment upon you in your endeavour to create some lasting wellness for yourself. (I mean really?! Look where working myself to the bone got me!) Or at the very least taking a break from the hard-work that is trying to recover from a debilitating disease or health issue. I wish I could be teaching in my classroom, migraine and pain free, taking a spring break holiday like the rest of my colleagues. Normal would be awfully nice at this point in the process.
In this time away, I’ve found more space to persevere. While away, my reading and journal writing has brought me new knowledge and insight. I feel an ounce stronger than before I left and still closer to my family for the shared experience we gave ourselves. I do not resent myself for this and know my body, mind and spirit are better because of it.