God has blessed me with some really amazing friends. Two of these precious women have been there for the biggest, scariest, and most painful times of my life–and they have not run away screaming. They both have older children right around the ages of Dee, Star Child, and Gladys Mae…and they both have a child around the age of Little Princess. They both have daughters that have a number in my family (Number Eight, Number Nine and Number Ten), and they have both been called some form of Mama by my children. In other words, we are close. The fact that I am by far taller than either of them is of no consequence….these ladies are GIANTS when it comes to faith and faithfulness.
A few weeks ago Tammy called me. She had received two nights in a resort hotel and Myrtle Beach, and she wanted to know if I wanted to go on Spring Break with her. We immediately thought of Gayle-Rae, and plans were made to take a three day vacation. Each of us had been dealing with stresses, and we all desperately needed some time away from the emotional and physical demands of caring for our families. We needed a re-charge. And then the Handy Man fell…it did not look like I was going to get to go. My children stepped in and said, “GO!” and The Handy Man said, “GO!”
So we went.
We headed out on Wednesday morning. Tammy’s husband had given her a bonus card he has from work that had a good bit of money on it for some restaurants at the beach, and he had given her instructions to make sure we all had FUN. Sweet man that he is, he knew that if we all fun, Tammy would come home refreshed.
We began our trip with a little law-breaking. It was completely accidental. I promise. We were on a toll road outside of Greenville, and as we approached what looked like an exit, the GPS on Tammy’s smart phone (which I, as the shot-gun navigator was holding) insisted that we stay LEFT. It had an arrow and everything. So we stayed left…and drove right through the Palmetto Pass lane. Being residents of a state that is NOT South Carolina, we did not have a Palmetto Pass. As we passed under the sign, Tammy pointed over to the toll booths and remarked that we should have been in those lanes. I wish I had a picture of us as drove through….Tammy pointing, Gayle-Rae looking confused, and me holding the phone and peering at it intently. Tammy later had to text her husband to tell him that he would be getting some mail from the South Carolina State Patrol.He has a keen sense of humor and laughed.
We arrived at our hotel–it was very swanky–and a nice bellman helped us carry our luggage to the room. I had the bulk of it because I insisted on bringing a cooler of food to fill our mini-fridge. It was all THM approved–and it was nice to be able to breakfast in our room as the hotel did NOT have a free breakfast option. (Apparently, the swankier the hotel, the less likely you are to get a free breakfast.)
We walked the beach, and being the homeschooling moms that we are, we had to stop and take photo of the dead jelly fish–after we tried to flip it over to examine it. Every adult does this on vacation, right?
We headed off to the Pirate Adventure Show. It was a dinner theater centered around a Pirate ship set. It involved several sets of animals (Scarlet macaws, Golden macaws, a set of sea lions, and two dogs) and lots of food like a half-chicken. Oh, and no knives or spoons because we were pirates. The show was entertaining. It was like Cirque Du Soleil meets cheesy dinner theater (not that I have ever been to Cirque Du Soleil–but I have seen commercials, so obviously I know all about it, right?) . The aerialists were amazing, and we really enjoyed watching the acrobatics.
We then hit the boardwalk downtown and got REALLY wild. The three of us got tattoos. That is correct. Tattoos. Matching tattoos on our right shoulders. Henna tattoos, but tattoos just the same. We sent Star Child a photo because we knew she could keep the secret, and her response was hilarious. “Please, please, PLEASE tell me that is real! You will make my year if that is real!” It is real. It is real henna. 😉 We may not have left the henna on long enough–none of us remembered to snap a photo of the directions before we left. We all agreed that we could be part of a gang…the rogue gang of henna-tattooed homeschooling moms. Sounds dangerous, right?
That night we studied our first chapter of Philippians…we were there to recharge, after all! We had prayer and fell into bed.
The next day was filled, too. We began the day with the second chapter of Philippians, then we went and got pedicures. We had lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise, and we ordered an adult beverage. Lindy had jokingly told me that I should get a mojito on my vacation. We took it as a sign that, as we sat down, the drink menu fell over and opened to the mojito page. We really enjoyed our shared mojito! We spent about an hour or so playing putt-putt, and then we went back to the hotel and took a shuttle over to their other resort to spend some time in the whirlpool and sauna. We stopped off at the gym, too, where Gayle-Rae tried out the weights–she said she had horrible form. (If her kids read this–she KNOWS she had horrible form!) We agreed that next time we may actually work out. We capped the night with another stroll down the boardwalk after dinner and some souvenir shopping. Chapter three of Philippians was followed by a good night’s sleep.
It is hard to convey how much we laughed and joked and just enjoyed each other. We laughed about our toll-jumping adventure, and Gayle-Rae called Tammy and me Thelma and Louise. We decided that we would not pursue their end. We laughed about the mojito and walking the boardwalk. We laughed as we shared our insights from Philippians. I have not laughed so much in so short a time in a very long time. It was an exhausting trip, but I came home recharged.
Sometimes a mom just needs a break. I think maybe my family needed a break from me as much as I needed one from them. What I do know is that I had a much needed reprieve and the chance to recharge with two of the sweetest friends God has given me. Proverbs 17:22 says that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. My merry weekend certainly did my heart good!