Last month, I walked into the mangers office of the beach resort that we were staying at with my eyes welling up with tears of sadness. "This is always a sad day for me." I said. "Checking out." The lady behind the counter simply replied, "Family tradition?" "Yes, this was our fifth time staying here," I said.
I hopped in our rental car that was waiting for me in the parking lot. Erick and Ainsley were both stopped in their seat belts and ready to head to the Sarasota Airport. Just like that our one-week vacation at our favorite sport in southwest Florida was over. My eyes were still filled with tears which began to fall down my cheeks. As I sat quietly in the front passenger seat of our tiny Chevrolet Cruze, I starting thinking about what the office mangers said to me....... "Family Tradition?"
I guess that is what this is. It's a NEW family tradition. One with just Erick, Ainsley and me. No Olivia. That in itself sounds awful, but its reality. Olivia has never been to this part of Florida with us. We never had the opportunity to make memories or build traditions at this beach resort that sits on the Gulf of Mexico, with its spectacular views or the sunsets, plus it's clear green waters and warm gulf breeze.
But, is that entirely heartbreaking?
It's actually necessary. The three of us are a family with or without Olivia present. She'll always be with us in spirit, but this special vacation destination that we began in 2014 is now ours - Mine, Erick's and Ainsley's - The Wade family. Every time we visit our little slice of Heaven, we are happy and become closer as a family of three. This is a good thing. We are moving on because, well, that's what we have to do.
Before Ainsley was born, we started building family traditions to the beaches of North Carolina. Then, we are fortunate enough that we had a few vacations as a family of four. But, this new tradition opened my eyes to that exact thing - A tradition that the three of us will continue to enjoy for many, many, more years.