Fall Break Escape
A. only got two days off for Fall Break this year, but I made an executive decision to allow her to "play hooky" for the remainder of the week so that the entire family could take a trip to Fort Walton Beach, Florida in the middle of October. (And by "play hooky," I mean keep A. out of school while letting all her teachers know where she was and how long she was going to be out of class. Because I'm a sucker and play by the rules like that.)
It just so happened that my in-laws were planning on meeting up with my husband's aunt and uncle at the beach that same week, so we rented a condo in the same complex and made a proper Alley shindig out of the entire affair.
It was a much-needed escape. Between the stress of school, the stress of work, and the worry we currently have for my mom and our family, we really just needed to completely turn off our brains for a while and allow ourselves to be soothed by the sand and the surf. The weather was perfect, and the girls enjoyed playing at the beach, swimming in the pool, and just lounging around having a lazy time together. For A. in particular, this meant bonding time with her aunt, scary movie nights, playing UNO with the whole family, swimming at night, eating lots of junk food, hitting up the local arcades, and feeding seagulls out of her hand, among many other fun-filled adventures.
What it also meant, however, was for some special bonding time between sisters. Much like what had occurred at Dragon*Con, being in close quarters had once again helped foster a level of closeness between the girls. A. helped K. feed seagulls, shared her favorite cartoons, and held her hand as they walked around the local Gulfarium to look at fish and dauphins together.
Nothing could have prepared me for the last night, however. K. is generally very good at sleeping through the night, but for whatever reason, on the last night of our vacation, she woke up and would not go back to sleep. Since we had to depart so early the next morning, K. and I went to go hang out with A. in her bedroom so that the rest of the condo could sleep. We watched cartoons on the iPad, and every so often, K. would climb down and go over to her sister to say "hi." Every single interaction was amazing and thoughtful - K. brought A. her shoes, and A. thanked her for being such a great helper because she'd been looking for those, and patted her head; K. started to grab her notebooks, and A. gently said, "no, no. You can't have that right now. Maybe when you're older. But I can give you this," and then gave her a fist bump. Then she was *extremely* patient even though K. started squalling in the middle of A.'s Skype conversation with her boyfriend. A. was just SUCH an awesome big sister on that last night, and I could not have been more proud of her.
It was definitely a much-needed week that left us all feeling very relaxed, greatly recharged, and closer than ever.