As I type I am watching the sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico on a small island in Florida. This Thanksgiving was anything but typical. My aunt rented a beach house in St. George Island, Florida months ago and I had planned to bring my Nanny along. We would meet my Aunt, her husband, and his daughters in Florida. I had made these arrangements months ago and I was satisfied with my new life set of alterna-Turkey Day plans.
I set out on Sunday to pick up my Nanny half way between Chicago and Dayton and quickly got frustrated as I took a wrong turn when I wasn't paying attention (I have made this drive millions of times). Then my fancy new phone wouldn't work properly and I couldn't get back on track (yep the new IPhone 5 maps are just as bad as they say). Then I was soon honking and cursing frustrated that my Thanksgiving was so different. I shouldn't be preparing for a 4am departure on Wednesday morning with my grandma in tow, I should be talking to Matt about when we are going to head to Wisconsin or Ohio. Him prodding me to leave on time, not pack too much, and have Lila's things ready.
Nanny and I made the journey successfully and arrived in Panama City unscathed and thankfully uninterrupted by the Chicago fog. After we arrived, we stopped and had lunch at a wonderful seaside restaurant and then stopped by the local fish market to pick up Thanksgiving dinner; shrimp and grouper. The trip was off to a more than successful start! We headed to the beach house and were pleasantly surprised by a beautiful house, steps away from the beach. We enjoyed the rest of the evening and then woke on Thanksgiving Day.
I was sad to miss some of my favorite pre-Turkey Day workout extravaganzas but was lucky to walk with my Grandma and Aunt on the beach before running back. Then I laid on the beach reading in my swimsuit for a few hours before getting ready and enjoying some wine poolside. Next was preparation of the dinner, prepared and shared by all.
After dinner, we enjoyed a game of catchphrase including my Nanny which Matt would have loved to see. She was pretty good too! As we were playing I turned on the CD player for some music. Last post I mentioned cosmic coincidences and what I am about to tell you was surely one. The CD that had been left in the player by some other guest was, the "Eat, Pray, Love" soundtrack. I am sure most of you have heard of this book/movie. I recently read and watched both as I am planning my own Eat, Pray, Love journey to none other than Bali (more on this to come in another post). Strange. I instantly recognized most of the songs and was surprised by a few including Eddie Vedder's voice. After we were done playing I looked up the soundtrack and found the song, "Long Run" by Eddie Vedder. I was shocked by the lyrics and quickly downloaded the song. Below are some highlights from the song (copied from . So fitting.
The Thanksgiving was so different that at first, it was hard to realize it was the holiday. There was no turkey, football, or sitting around my Nanny's house so it was all unfamiliar. Then as I was sitting poolside enjoying a glass of wine, it hit me. I didn't care about the holiday or what day it was...I just missed Matt. His absence was palpable as I looked at the lounge chair next to me. Matt loved a good beach vacation and he would have especially loved this one. Thanksgiving by the beach with family, Matt would have been pleased! I could see him in his ratty beach shirt and swimming trunks urging me to get up and play Frisbee with him. He always wanted me to play. Sometimes I would indulge but I am more of a lay on the sand and read type of gal. Why didn't I play more Frisbee with the guy? I didn't get up and play every time but I can say I am a pretty decent Frisbee player at this point. Sadly, I forgot his Frisbee this trip, typically I still bring it along.
On Black Friday, there was no mention of door busters or early AM shopping trips. Well, I guess now they are PM shopping trips on Thanksgiving evening. I was so glad not to hear much about it, frankly this year it has made me sick. I don't need one extra thing in this world and I don't have a lot of people to buy for this Christmas. I again went for a run and laid by the beach all day. We also rented some kayaks. I enjoyed kayaking in the late afternoon sun. I could definitely feel Matt's presence and I know he would have been so proud of me in that kayak in the sea.
I am left with a couple more days to enjoy here and I am really trying to live in the moment and take it all in. I am so thankful to spend the holiday here with my Nanny, Aunt, her husband and his family. I am truly blessed to have the luxury to take this vacation and spend the holiday as I see fit and forge some new traditions. I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving this year, however you chose to spend it... hopefully with friends, family, and some good laughs!