Mother and Son Tradition – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
It began two years ago. My son has the last week of August free sans friends or prearranged plans before the start of school. Two summers ago, I decided to take my son on a cruise to the Bahamas, my favorite island destination. We both loved every minute of it and we bonded like crazy. For me, it was unforgettable.
Last year I again made plans for us to go away together, however we were smacked in the face with a hurricane. Our beach hotel and every other facility were without power, including us. We stayed in our home for one night without electricity, food, hot water or fans. We had to leave, but didn’t know where to go.
My quick thinking brought us luck! I knew of a beach resort about 100 miles away that was large enough to withstand a large storm. I called to see if they had any openings. I found out that there had been a suggested evacuation for that part of of Long Island so 90% of the hotel guests fled! But this resort had electricity; it had air conditioning; it had food; most importantly for my son, it had a beautiful, private beach! We didn’t even pack suitcases. We stuffed bags with comfortable clothes and bathing suits and left! I think we had one of the best vacations yet! I wanted to try to reproduce it again for this year, with the exception of having to drive 100 miles.
I started by working around my best friend’s schedule and a greatly anticipated trip to Splish Splash, a well known water park for both of our sons. We arranged the water park excursion and I found a hotel near to it and other fun attractions. As our vacation date approached, so did threats of rain, which would have washed out our plans for fun in the sun at the water park. I prayed for the rain to come either sooner or later during that week because that was the only day all four of us could attend the water park together.
We were scheduled to drive to our destination on Monday, after my son’s annual physical. With so many kids needing physicals before the start of school, our appointment was delayed over two hours. I kept looking at the dark, ominous clouds outside along with my weather App. The clouds were telling me big storm, but for some reason my App was telling me only a slight chance of rain. By the time we finished with the annual exam, it was down-poring with thunderous clouds. My car was packed to go on our trip so my son and I ran to our car and headed East.
At a red light, I quickly checked my weather App again. Sure enough, a strong band of thunderstorms were approaching, although heading Northeast from our destination. The farther East I drove, the less rain came down. Then, a couple exits before our turnoff, I saw a magnificent rainbow in the clouds above us! I pulled the car off to the side of the road and took photos! This rainbow did not want to be captured as a beautiful memory, as it did not show up in the photos. To me, it was a sign that there was more beauty and splendor to come for us! My son and I scrambled back into the car and headed to our hotel.
My early bird son woke me at 6:30 am the next morning, flinging the hotel curtains aside, and announcing, “Mommy! It’s raining!” Sure enough, the skies were grey and the rain was teeming. I looked at my weather App again. It indicated that clearing would start to occur around the time the water park opened. I shared this with my son and asked him to wake me when he was hungry for breakfast. He woke me again at 8:30am. But not due to hunger. “Mommy! It’s still raining!” I looked outside again. “Look,” I said, “Let’s go down and get something to eat and I’ll call Aunt Laura (my best friend) at 9:00 to see what she thinks we should do.”
At 8:59 am, I was reminded to make my call. My friend and I stood looking out our respective windows as we spoke. The rain stopped, but the skies were still grey. We decided to get ready to go to the water park. My friend exclaimed, “For goodness sakes! It’s a water park! We’ll get wet anyway!” True! I shared the news with my son and we scurried to pack and get ready for the day.
To our amazement, not only was the sun peaking through the clouds, but the threat of rain must have deterred others from coming to the park because we were able to get a space close to the entrance. The kids announced that they wanted to go on a ride called “Alien Invasion” first, since there were so few people at the park and the lines for this popular ride were typically hours long. As these quad floats came shooting out of a cylinder and into this enormous funnel (see photo), my friend and I looked at each other with trepidation. Were these two mini athletes strong enough to hold on to this gigantic float while being propelled into a mammoth-size funnel?? Of course they were, as my friend and I were clicking away with our cameras! If they could overcome this ride, anything else in the park was perfectly manageable! Not only was the park sparse and the lines tolerantly short, the sun came out in full display! All of us had a spectacular day!
Since our hotel was next door to the Atlantis Aquarium, my son and I decided to go there the next day. We ended up spending two full days there! Between feeding Stingrays without the stingers,
snorkeling with baby sharks which only had “plates” instead of teeth,
going “behind the scenes” to learn about penguins and interacting with butterflies and tropical birds,
we just couldn’t get enough from this place! My son would have gone a third day had we not had to head home to see relatives visiting from California!
Beyond the fun, excitement, adventure and exploration was the most lovely of all: The bonding. There has been magic created between my son and I on our yearly vacations. There is never any pressure to do certain activities (except for the water park). We go where we want to go, explore where we want to explore, eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired. It is the absolute best week of the year for me…and I am hoping for my son too. We bond like crazy that week before school!
The most enjoyable part is when my son crawls under the covers in the morning, hugs me, and says, “Wake up, Momma Dog (his pet name for me), I love you!” It is music to my ears! I will never get tired of hearing that precious voice! Nor his gentle face looking into mine! It is priceless!!