Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Who's Missing?"

....asks Five-year-old Granddaughter, as we step into the hotel elevator on our way to breakfast.
I was taken aback.

We look at each other. There are six of us. Grandmother, Daughter, Son-in-Law, and three of my grandchildren. "Nobody's missing, Jasmine."
The elevator doors whisk open and we step out into the hallway of our Resort. A huge buffet breakfast is waiting for us and we're hungry.

Another day. Palm trees sway in the gentle breezes and a strong sun warms my winter weary skin. Every morning I rise early and walk the beach. The sand is unbelievably soft and powdery underfoot and I revel in its smoothness as I make my way down to the ocean. Waves lap at the shoreline with a rhythm of their own, and I take pleasure in wading into the shallow, cool waters. Shells crunch under my bare feet, but I don't mind. Looking up, I see a V-formation of brown pelicans flying quite close to the water. Suddenly one of them dives headfirst into the ocean, no doubt to spear a poor unsuspecting fish.

Back at the hotel, the family is waiting for me. I quickly change out of my beach clothes and into a summer dress. We leave together for the breakfast feast. All six of us step into the elevator.
Little Granddaughter turns to look at me, "who's missing?"
Once again, I'm taken aback.
Once again, Daughter and I look at each other, then glance quickly around, although we know everyone is here.
Daughter bends down and looks her daughter right in the eye.
"Nobody's missing sweetie."

A strange feeling comes over me and I shiver a little.
"Could it be Alex? Katie? Lara? Stella?"
Jasmine shakes her head.
Having eliminated her playmates, I try for cousins. "Is it Simon? Ryan? Owen? Adrian?"
Light is beginning to dawn on me, but I decide to keep quiet.

Weather here in Fort Myers, Florida has been absolutely perfect. Blue skies, warm sun, and no rain at all. We were happy to leave behind our bulky winter coats, hats and boots in exchange for flimsy flip-flops and blissful bathing suits.

The children were delighted to spend each day swimming in the clear waters of the Resort pool, or making sand castles and sand mermaids on the beach. Twice during our trip, we watched a pair of young dolphins swim so close to shore we could almost touch them.

It was a nice change for me to take a vacation with my family, rather than going alone.
It was good for my family to take a break from their work and school routine. Although we'd had a mild winter this year, there seemed to be a lot of viruses going around. Everyone had been sick off and on since before Christmas. It was definitely time for a change of scenery.

All too soon our vacation was over. This was to be our last day. The children were eager to get back home to familiar surroundings. They missed their pets, toys, and friends.
We'd had a wonderful time and were ready to go home. I  think we were all  getting a little weary of restaurant food (with the exception of those sumptuous breakfasts).

The elevator seemed to be slow this morning, but we didn't mind. This was a day to take things slowly, to savour our last moments here in Florida. Finally it arrived. Doors opened with a whoosh and the children surged in - all wanting to "press the button" for the appropriate floor.

Jasmine turned to look at me.
"Who's missing?" she asks yet again.

Mother makes a decision. It's time to get to the bottom of this.
"Is it a boy or a girl?"
"A boy," she replies.

I take the plunge - "is it David?"