Liz and I are the only two with children, and the day before we left we both found ourselves wracked with overwhelming anxiety about leaving them, even though I was leaving them in the hands of those I trust the most and I knew they would be fine. It was an unexplained sense of panic, as though I was making some terrible mothering mistake. I now feel a bit foolish for experiencing these uncontrolled emotions, as it was worth every last minute.
The panic subsided by the time we were en route to the airport (although my panic about flying and the turbulent airplane ride did not help much) and once we had gotten our rental car and were heading south down the Florida turnpike to our awaiting houseboat, the Tobbie Dee.
The boat was shabby in the perfect sort of way. Located in the somewhat rundown but also distinctly charming Gilbert's Resort, our houseboat was roomy enough to fit four women comfortably, had a blender for mixed drinks (of which there were many), and allowed us to sip coffee while watching pelicans swooping down to catch their morning fish. The best part is that it was dirt cheap and had a constant view of the water. Perfect.
Our daily escapades began each day with a trip to the Casa De Los Jugos, a local haven for coffee and juice lovers alike. I easily consumed my body weight in fresh squeezed passion fruit juice (when combined with enough rum could very well create world peace) and cuban coffee in small thimbles, strong enough to wake any narcoleptic.
We filled our thermoses with fruity rum and headed to a different beach each day, the most stunning of which was the renowned Bahia Honda State Park. I hadn't been on a beach without my kids since they were born, and the release of not being responsible for anyone else was tremendous. Girl talk, from the most intimate details to the superficial had us laughing the entire time.
Whatever else may be true, I will not be waiting seven years to take a vacation by myself again. Today as I woke up (from 12 needed hours of sleep) feeling refreshed and calm, I no longer hold the guilt of taking time out for me. Moms deserve to spend time away from their children now and again to allow us to remember that we are more than just mothers. We are women with desires, adventuresome spirits, and the ability to laugh. I can't believe how often in life I have let myself forget that. This too ends today.