My husband and I try to take a Florida vacation every January. We’re not fans of the month’s cold days and long nights, so it makes sense for us to spend a week of it on a warm Florida beach. We also like having something fun to look forward to after the holidays wind down, and have found that nothing beats the post-Christmas blahs quite like throwing shorts, swimsuits and sun screen in a suitcase and heading south for a few days of rest and relaxation.
But this year was different. I had a hard time looking forward to this trip, and it wasn’t just because the pandemic has taught me to have a “wait and see” attitude about almost everything I schedule. The problem was that this year’s vacation was going to be almost an exact repeat of the trip we took last January: we were leaving on Martin Luther King weekend, going to the same coastal island, and rented the exact same condo. And sadly, last year’s trip didn’t go so well.
Last year’s trip was supposed to be a celebration of my husband’s successful battle with cancer. I was planning to reserve a table on the patio of one of the area’s nicer restaurants, and was even going to order a bottle of champagne for a special toast. But things went wrong from the start.
While we were driving down the highway a rock flew up and cracked the windshield of our rental car. Later that day, a distracted bicyclist rode smack into our car. It wasn’t our fault and she wasn’t seriously injured, but it was very upsetting even so. Then I began having eye symptoms that might mean an injured retina, which I knew could mean a surgery with a long recovery. But worst of all was the call from my husband’s surgeon with the results of the biopsy from his recent scope. The surgeon said it was nothing to worry about, but after looking it up online, we were convinced he had grown a new tumor. So much for our week of relaxation and celebration….
So I suppose in the back of my mind, I secretly believed that bad things were going to happen on this trip. I’m not superstitious, but I had learned to associate this particular area with serious problems, and that made it hard for me to truly believe that we were going to have fun this time.
But we did. We had no problems with the car, no accidents, and absolutely no bad news from any of my husband’s doctors. We walked the beach, did a puzzle, slept late, ate out on patios, and in general had the sort of week that I had envisioned last year. I didn’t order a bottle of champagne, but we did finally toast the fact that my husband’s cancer is gone.
Before our trip, I had toyed with the idea of cancelling our reservations and going somewhere else this year, somewhere with no bad memories. I’m so glad I didn’t cancel and let those bad memories ruin a lovely vacation spot for us. Because sometimes, the best thing to do is to give places (and people) a chance to redeem themselves…….