Mom and Dad wake super early to drive Ardy and Ariel back to Orlando.
Man the sacrifices those two make to compensate for all the mistakes us kids make. Becoming self-employed does not provide a steady paycheck and I absolutely could not have done spring break without a free place to crash.
I can't thank them enough for semi-retiring in warmth and sun and for all their hospitality without grumbling.
Melissa, Mary, and I get to sleep in because all was quiet again by 7am. I am now a firm believer in packing light. By all accounts, for spring break you need: jean shorts, white pants, T's, flip flops, 1(one) other pair of shoes, and your swim suit. Enough is enough.
After a light breakfast, packing the cooler, and connecting with some other families from school, we wait for our ride to return and soon we're off to Anna Maria Island.
Melissa and Mary hear all the latest from the two days of school they missed, including who made chamber choir, and rumors of budget cuts. Two applications of sunscreen later, all the condo people invite Melissa and Mary up to the swimming pool...and so I am left to myself and my mind starts to wander as it so often does.
The late night talk with my sister-in-law about teenagers, boundaries, love languages, and plain old mother-child relationships causes me to reflect on how I'm doing as a parent. Better late than never.
In hindsight, and I hope somehow I've portrayed this to my kids...I did the best I could and I actually believe our parents did so also. I studied the books, listened to the experts, and experimented with Ben, sorry son!
In the end, it all comes down to one small word: example. If I made smart choices ~ they would follow my lead. If I didn't let the "sins" creep into my life; selfishness, materialism, lack of respect, pride, gossip, exaggerations (lying) ~ they would hold those areas at bay in their own lives.
If I spent more than I made ~ they would feed into that lifestyle and expect more than they deserved. If I procrastinated and got lazy ~ they jumped on that bandwagon immediately.
So in the long scheme of things I have come to believe that; #1 Children learn what they live. And #2, the sins of the father will somehow affect their children.
Later that evening, the neighbors heading back north, dropped off a spaghetti dinner and Grandpa told the girls the story of how he came to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Grandma chided in with how God brought the two of them together in, of all places, Chicago! It is quite a story, and both girls were eating it up like candy. More on that later.
The NCAA gets narrowed down to deuce; strawberry shortcake for desert and that was my 3rd day in Florida.