My birthday was on Friday the 13th this year. I know—scary! I spent the morning of my birthday watching my little children graduate from swimming lessons and felt so proud when they received permission to advance to Level Two next summer!
Next, I treated myself to a massage and a birthday lunch all by myself. It was actually a treat to sit calmly rather than eating and drinking in a gigantic rush. It was also nice just eating my own meal rather than mine plus whatever the kids left over. That evening, we went to my parent’s house and had a pizza party and watched the kids ride all around their driveway on new bicycles. Or rather, Eva rode around on a new sparkly pink bicycle while Vincent enjoyed his hand-me-down.
Next, I did something I’ve only done one other time; took the kids on a vacation all by myself! We went on one last year for my birthday and it was so much fun I just had to do it again. So, I packed us all up, got the dogs ready for a visit at Grandma and Grandpa’s, and then hit the road for a six-hour drive.
Traffic was awful and it was 100-degrees (literally) outside, but we had air conditioning to cool us off, country music to listen to, and we discovered a great new place to stop and eat.
One of the things I’ve had to learn as the mother in a commercial fishing family is how to do most everything for the children by myself and be brave enough to see things through. A part of me always feels bad—not because I’m often without their father, for he is working hard and risking his life for us. I know that if I wasn’t strong and determined to show our children a fun time, they would miss out on so much.
No, I feel bad because getting the family ready for a vacation is something George actually loves to do. There is honestly not much he enjoys more than packing up food, getting the dogs ready, and hauling our bags out to the truck.
So, for much of the trip I kept thinking things like “George would love this restaurant,” “George would love to swim in this pool,” “Wouldn’t it be great if George could see Eva jump in and get her head wet,” and “I feel guilty that we are having such a wonderful time in the sun with friends, and he is so far away in terrible weather fishing in Western Alaska that I can’t even talk to him.”
I have to forge ahead, though. It’s worth the hassle of getting us all ready and feeling bad that we aren’t all together to watch the smiles and the joy, and to hear the laughter and squeals of our little angels as they play on our friend’s playground, swim in their pool, drink chocolate milk, and race tricycles down a huge lawn of rolling green.
And I have to think that there is nothing George wants more than for his two children to play, run, swim, and feel so free and happy.
Thank you, Beth, for opening up your beautiful home to us. We love you all and our time together with your family could not have been more wonderful.