My husband’s cousin and her boyfriend were visiting us for the last two weeks. She is 23 years old. 5’9” with long blonde hair and crystal blues eyes. Everything about her is perfect. She is beautiful inside and out. She is smart, strong, and athletic, and her boyfriend (28) is truly her equal. He is tall, lean, and muscular with piercing blue eyes and a big bright smile. He is from Germany and she is from Austria, and they met doing competitive alpine sports. They are both outstanding athletes. Highly educated. Polite. Organized. Bilingual… and just lovely. I don’t know what they put in the water in Eastern Europe, but they are truly awesome young adults.
They rented their own car and would often leave early in the morning and not return until early evening. They saw the island the way it is meant to be seen. They went to the beach. They swam in the ocean. They hiked into the crater. They played tennis. They snorkeled. They surfed (for the first time and loved it). They fell in love with Coconut's fish tacos so much, that they drove 45 minutes (each way) and ate them every day for a week. They are both triathletes and compete in cross country skiing, downhill skiing, ski mountaineering and Ironmans. They are a gorgeous couple and couldn’t be sweeter or smarter. It was a real treat to have them visit us.
Meanwhile, two of my daughters are traveling in Italy. My oldest daughter (23) is halfway through her nine-month global backpacking adventure. After four months in Southeast Asia, she is now in Europe. For my middle daughter's 21st birthday, I gave her a plane ticket to meet her sister there for 10 days. Their uncle, who loves Italy and will use any excuse to go, decided to join them as well.
So, now my brother and two of my daughters are eating their way through Italy. Their uncle has been to Italy dozens of times, so he is taking them to all of his “favorite restaurants in the world.” Apparently, my oldest daughter started crying when they went to this one restaurant in the countryside and tasted the "Lard and Truffle" bruschetta. She said, “It was the greatest thing she has ever tasted in her life.” Meanwhile, my middle daughter (who adores pasta) is in heaven eating all the fresh-made pasta she can consume. Their uncle insists that they eat gelato every day because “it’s the greatest in the world,” and in honor of their other Uncle who never passes up gelato. Sometimes they eat it twice in one day.
They are having a ball and sending me pictures daily. I can’t explain how happy this makes me. They sent me one picture of the two of them drinking wine and laughing their first night in Florence. When I got the picture, I burst out crying (tears of joy) because they looked so happy to be together and enjoying life.
Somehow all of these travelers have inspired me (dare I say given me permission) to play hooky from my normal overly-regimented-adult-life. My husband, my youngest daughter, my sister-in-law, our cousins, and I played tennis for hours and hours on Mother’s Day... and it was awesome.
Later in the week, another friend of mine was visiting from the mainland, so I took the day off to play tennis with her one morning. After the game, we had lunch at a restaurant right on the ocean. We had a fun playing and a great time catching up. I felt like I was the one on vacation!
Later, I went to pick up my daughter from her tennis lesson, and I ended up playing with another group who needed a fourth. After that match, my husband and daughter and I stayed to play another match before dinner.
Yes, I took my own advice and I chose fun! How did it feel? Glorious. It was the first time in a long time that I wasn’t watching the clock, worried about the laundry, what to make for dinner, giving notes on a script, or preparing for a conference call. Okay, maybe I had a little twinge of panic at the end of the day, but not for a moment while I was playing. Yay me!
I haven’t felt joy like that in a long time. Although my immediate family wasn’t physically all together, we were together in groups… and doing what we love most. Knowing that the older sisters were together, and having a ball with their uncle, made it just perfect. Meanwhile, I was home with the other half of my immediate family playing tennis... and we were having a great time too.
But it’s Monday now. My houseguests have left. I have a post to write. I have scripts to read. I have errands to run. I need to prep something for dinner. And, of course, I need to finish the five loads of laundry because no matter how much fun you might be having… somethings never change.
But these two girls are a great reminder. Enjoy your life... and don't forget to do what makes you happy. It just might be contagious.