Originally published in the Miami News-Record, June 28, 2015
Back in March I realized this would not be a year for a Disney vacation and started looking around for a place to stay in Branson. Then I thought that it had been an awfully long time since we’d done a BIG family vacation and immediately sent an email to my mom and sister. After much calendar checking, schedule rearranging, and work schedule securing, we all decided on a date. A couple years ago Paul, the kids and I took a long weekend in Branson and stayed in a condo rather than a hotel room. I gotta say it spoiled us a bit. I started looking for condos then learned pretty quick that it’s darn near impossible to find a condo big enough for 14 people. I started looking at cabins, but the ones big enough for us were all booked up for the weekend we wanted. I forged on, and glory be, I found THE HOUSE and the preparations began in earnest.
A month before the vacation I sent a text in all capital letters to the group exclaiming my joy that the official countdown had begun. And because apparently I have too much time on my hands and a very weird brain, I put together everyone’s last names and came up with an official name for the trip: FORRFERRHOOVESCHTELLE SUMMER VACATION 2015. Someone text me back and asked if we had changed the destination to Germany instead of Branson.
The day of vacation finally arrived – and so did Hurricane Bill. We loaded the Durango in between showers and downpours and any attempts at fixing hair that day were for naught. Sam had opted to ride with Mom and Pops and they were about an hour and a half ahead of us. He was sending texts telling us how hard it was raining, but we were already quite aware. Paul had to drop something off at his mom’s on our way out and got drenched, then rode most of the trip freezing because I was having hot flashes most of the way and was pretty sure if I turned the AC down I was going to spontaneously combust. And apparently he found my being vocal about it rather annoying. We drove in and out of rain bands, some pouring so hard we could barely see the car in front of us. When we finally made it to the resort and pulled in, the rain had stopped and the sun was attempting to peek out of the clouds. Then as I got halfway up the sidewalk with my arms full of bags, it was like someone in Heaven said, “Hey y’all – watch this!” and let go with a bucket the size of the Grand Canyon.
The guys fished in the rain, the kids swam in the rain, I loved on my sweet baby nephew while it rained, we cooked and ate while it rained – I think you get the picture: it rained. But eventually the rain stopped and the sun came out enough to effectively sunburn everyone who visited the pool that day. They didn’t mind. I got a new owl coffee mug, the kids all got new Disney t-shirts, Pauly got new shoes, my sweet baby nephew ate his first Oreo while we were there, we learned just how twisted (and hilarious) we all are when we played Cards Against Humanity, and we made a heck of a lot of memories.
Mom and Kady cried when we had the leave the house Sunday morning. It had been such a wonderful time of togetherness, no one wanted to see it end. I probably would’ve cried, too, but I had a belly full of Krispy Kreme donuts and hey, it’s hard to shed tears when you’re riding that high. We all decided that time is too short to let moments like those pass by, so we’ve decided to do it every year and stick to it. In a few years we’ll be adding in-laws and grandbabies and so many more memories. I can hardly wait!