Have Hope – I’ve Seen Our Futures
Even Steven and I are a lot like most parents.
We’re full of joy and love for our 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.)
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.
We are good parents.
And we’re also like a lot of parents with little kids.
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.
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.
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.
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?