Laughs

Have Hope – I’ve Seen Our Futures

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Even Steven and I are a lot like most parents.

We’re full of joy and love for our kids.

Even Steven and Kids

We laugh at things they say and take pride in small milestones (like when Alice finally learned to wipe herself and get the toilet paper into the toilet afterwards.)

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We take our jobs as parents seriously – thinking about what they should eat, trying to incorporate healthy habits and trying desperately to teach Simon that he shouldn’t start kicking his bedroom wall at 5 am each morning.

Three Kids

We are good parents.

And we’re also like a lot of parents with little kids.

We’re tired.

Not newborn-baby tired – that’s in a league of it’s own. But just a general, constant fatigue of one more snack, and bedtimes and bathtimes and did you brush your teeth, and someone needs to see a doctor, and who farted, and diaper changes, and I don’t have any clean underwear in my drawers, and who wrote all over the minivan with an ink pen? (It was Miles.)

Not unhappy. Not regretful. Just full-on, parenting 24/7, tired.

Sleeping

And then we went to Florida.

And that didn’t exactly fix our fatigue. Because if you’ve ever traveled with kids, then you know that it’s basically just TRAVELLING with kids. Not really a vacation…

In fact, I was sick for a lot of the trip, and the weather wasn’t all that great (you can read more about that here.)

But something pretty major happened at Florida. And it left us both full of hope.

I already mentioned that we stayed in a trailer park while we were there. But it wasn’t just any trailer park.

It was a trailer park sent straight from heaven.

Straight. From. Heaven.

Even Steven and his Trailer

And it wasn’t because of the giant wellness center or the biggest outdoor swimming pool and hot tub I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t the tiki bar or the putt putt golf course. It wasn’t even the giant bounce house or the cheap price tag.

What was so amazing and life-changing about this experience was that we could call Mort if we were interested in joining the poker league.

If we wanted to play shuffleboard, we had to talk to Ethel and be at the courts at 9 am sharp.

Roger could help us if we wanted to join in on the water aerobics class or perhaps we’d like to have a treadmill brought into the water for us?

Sandy was in charge of the stained-glass lessons, and Doris was coordinating a ladies day out at the outlet mall.

Yes – Even Steven and I stayed with our family at a senior citizens trailer park in Florida.

And it was amazing.

One morning at 10 am, we were sitting by the pool. Miles, Alice and Simon were splashing in the shallow end, while Even Steven and I sat with our toes in the water. The sun was shining. I was feeling better. We were thrilled to be there.

And in walks Hank. His jeans were pulled up to his armpits. His orthopedic shoes were white and shiny. And he was carrying two pitchers of beer and a deck of cards.

His friends were close behind him, and those 8 guys sat at a table at the pool for two hours drinking beer and playing cards. At 10 am.

Do you know why? Because they could.

Every morning, we watched the seniors take on their day in any way they wanted to. Stained glass lessons? Why not? Hop in the steam room for awhile? Why not? Learn woodworking or play horseshoes or just take a freaking nap? Let’s do it!

And for each day that we stayed there – dodging the golf carts and motorized scooters – our outlook on life became more and more exciting.

I have seen our future – and it is bright!

It also happens to be in a trailer park in Florida.

Even Steven and I will come across hurdles over the next 30 years. We’ll deal with illness. We’ll worry as our kids become teenagers. We’ll panic when they learn to drive. There will be great times – and sad times. Highs and lows. And challenges that we have no idea are coming.

Kids on the Beach

But it’s all going to be okay.

Because one day, we will be living in a trailer park in Florida.

And I will be learning how to make stained glass, and Even Steven will be playing bocce ball. And then we’ll drive our golf cart up to the pool and have a margarita in the hot tub at noon – because we can.

The annual trailer park “homecoming” party takes place every year on January 15th – when most residents have returned “home” from the holidays.

I’ve marked my calendar for January 15, 2044. Who’s with me?

22 Comments

  1. Deb

    January 13, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I’d say “I’m in,” but truthfully, I hope to be there in 2017!!!

  2. Lisa R. Petty

    January 13, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I’m so there! Which one is it? I plan to be there sooner, though, like now.

  3. Dona

    January 13, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I’m old and I can do anything I want….well, anything I can afford….that won’t get me arrested….in Arizona! Well, I live with my daughter and there are days she thinks she’s the mom so that limits me. But mostly I can do what I want! I do have a few responsibilities……but sometimes I can do what I want……….. Where in Florida is this place???????????????????

  4. Thersea

    January 13, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Sounds like a great plan to me. I love florida!

  5. thedoseofreality

    January 13, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Sounds like a good plan to me! I think playing cards at 10:00 a.m. is really the only way to go!

  6. Bethany Bauer

    January 13, 2014 at 8:55 am

    ME! I can’t WAIT to move into an “adult community.” Right now, we are planning Someday House – minimum 4 BR (because I’m cruel and will absolutely make my children share bedrooms to preserve the ability to sell the thing when they move out) and arguing over whether each bedroom should have a bathroom (DUH – 5 kids trying to use one bathroom to get ready for school? I think NOT, Darling Husband). But, I am looking further ahead, to the glorious day of downsizing…less to clean, fewer to clean up AFTER…and it looks like Heaven. The treadmill in the pool sounds pretty cool. I’ll have to put that on my requirement list.

  7. Frugalistablog

    January 13, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Wait, what? Oh, I love this! Save a spot for me.

  8. Karmen

    January 13, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Such a great post! My husband grew up in south Florida and his retirement ambition is to replace burned out lightbulbs in beachfront condos and hang out by the pool and have people call him “Governor”.

  9. Adrienne

    January 13, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Before we had kids we rented a townhouse in the suburbs. We didn’t know it was a casual retirement community until we had already moved in. I guess they didn’t mind us living there since the owner of the house fit their age restrictions – no one ever said anything to us at least. But about three months in we realized it was the best place to live. There were no kids running around, no loitering teenagers next door at all hours of the night, the pool never had drunk party people not picking up their trash, it was QUIET. We walked our dog every day in peace. When we decided to have a baby we wanted to buy a house and have more space, so we had to move from our little retirement paradise. Our new neighborhood is full of the things I just described, although we have added our child to the noise. We love where we live now, but every now and then we reminisce about our “early retirement” LOL.

  10. JD @ Honest Mom

    January 13, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Hubs and I joke with our two closest couple friends that we are all moving to Florida when the last kid is out of the house. I think you found our spot for us. And you’ll be there too. SWEET.

  11. My Special Kind of Crazy

    January 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Wait, we are supposed to wait until we retire to drink beer and play poker at 10am?

  12. Mom

    January 13, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Great plan my darling daughter – but I think you left out a few things. At about the time you are packing the car to head to your little paradise, Miles will be leaving on a business trip and his wife will need help with the twins, Alice will be moving into her new house and needs a new bathroom installed and Simon will be moving across country and needs help with the re-location. Add to this the needs (very small mind you) of your Mom and Dad – especially me with my family’s longevity, and MeeMaw who will only be 110 – and you will have a better picture of your future and it is blessed indeed!!

  13. Angela

    January 13, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Anna’s Mom, YOU are GLORIOUS!!! Funny how much you are like my own mother, but it’s not nearly as funny when she says this kind of stuff.

  14. Ashlee

    January 13, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Your family is seriously the most adorable little family I’ve ever seen. You guys need to be on the cover of Parents magazine with your mini van and Even Steven’s edited pictures need to be in an article somewhere in the magazine.

    And by the way, that is by far the nicest trailer park I’ve ever seen.

  15. Bad Parenting Moments

    January 13, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Anna, this is so great. But, more than that. There is something so genuinely…well, genuine, about this piece. I laughed. It tugged at my heart strings. It was fun. It was inspiring. It was great. I’m going to read it again.

  16. Julia

    January 13, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    My grandparents go to a trailer park in Florida every year from after Christmas until Easter. We live in Washington and it rains all.the.time. I’m so tempted to grab my kiddos and leave with them… I’m sure they wouldn’t mind two screaming, wild boys in their little trailer for almost four months, right? It sure sounds like heaven to me! šŸ™‚

  17. danee

    January 15, 2014 at 2:33 am

    The future may look bright but the problem is you have to survive the hurle that is preteen and teen years. And the hurdle I speak of isn’t the hurdle you hear most parents complain of which his dealing with the attitude of the teenager. No, the hurdle is how much HARDER parenting becomes. First you have the constant fear that accompanies all decisions you will be faced with once your child decides that being with his/her friends is more fun than ANYTHING and preferably done in a public setting where you aren’t. Think movie theaters, shopping malls, putter golf places. It is so stressful when they are out and about with friends and no adults. Those first few trips to the movies with a group of friends….terrifying. I never worried my child would do something wrong, instead I worried that some 17 year old boy would approach her and her friends and sweet talk/convince them to do something. I kept envisioning big teenage boy talking to innocent giggly 11-12 year old girls. SCARY. After I got over that, my then-6th grader was sexted and harassed by a fellow 6th grader. We survived all that and this year she started her freshman year of HS. Sadly, in early December her good friend committed suicide which was devastating for many reasons. This year also brought her first boyfriend, her friends drinking at parties (mine hasn’t attended them yet) and some of her friends are already sexually active. I know this because 1. I am a midwife and I’ve worked with lots of kids and 2. my daughter tells me. I am so grateful we have that kind of relationship but it is still a lot of worry and a lot of angst. Our next big hurdles? The fist heart break and driving both her own driving and just being with friends (ugh) as they drive-the worry of winter driving, drunk driving, just bad decision driving….oh and of course the dreaded parties that she will eventually want to attend. I miss the toddler years…. a lot.

  18. Jen

    January 15, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Oh I loved reading this. I just recently started blogging myself and love to be in the company of other moms with something to say! BTW, I live in Florida. I dream of being somewhere with seasons. Ahh the whole grass is greener bit….

  19. Arlene

    January 15, 2014 at 6:56 pm

  20. Jean

    January 15, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    I wonder if that’s why my parents insisted we visit my grandma at her trailer park in Arizona every Easter. Hmmm. It’s all making sense now.

  21. Karen

    January 17, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Too funny, and yet So True.

  22. Alcohol Addiction Florida

    February 27, 2014 at 6:05 pm

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