Floating Away From It All

I’m drifting further away. Away from my family, my job, my messy house, motherhood, bills, stress, and responsibility. My soul is in a dreamlike state. My vision is partially blurred by the light and I can barely see my loved ones anymore. I hear soft, gentle sounds calling me into another world. I can feel my anxiety melting away as I stretch out my arms, reaching into the sky and allowing myself to float into the peace that awaits me here.

That is, until I catch a glimpse of a boat headed straight towards me and my floatie.

O.K., so I’m not entirely free from my anxiety.

Not when I’m wondering if the driver of the boat is too boozed up over the Fourth of July holiday to notice a little lady bouncing over the wake in her inflatable lounge chair. Hello?! Stop friendly-boat-waving to that other watercraft over there in the opposite direction and pay attention to this chicky over here, please. As I’m frantically using my hands as paddles to steer myself away from a potential vacation fatality, the boat ends up passing me by at a safe enough distance. Awesome sauce, I get to live another day.

Shutting my eyes, I take a deep breath and lean back with my legs crossed and my arms tucked behind my head. Back to serenity. Back to baking under the hot sun that is quickly drying up the beads of water rolling across my newly bronzed skin.

Detroit Lake, MN

One of my eyes squints open behind my Maui Jims (my favorite sunglasses that I stole from my husband because I’m too practical to spend money on things like that but now they are mine, mine, mine!). I’m able to see the outline of my happy family who are at least 100 yards away, playing on the beach. The little cousins are making mudpies and sandcastles, the guys are tossing a football to one another in the shallow water. The ladies are soaking up the sun on their beach chairs. No one would be able to hear me if I called out to them.

Cousins…and the last babies in the family

Better yet, they can’t call out to me simply because I’m too far away.

As I’m contemplating what this means, I can feel a scandalous smile spread across my face. I won’t know if anyone is hungry. Or thirsty. Or has to go potty. I won’t hear the kids fighting over sand toys. I won’t be able to see my middle child crash one of the paddle boards into someone else’s jet ski repeatedly because he’s eight and has no clue how to use it. I won’t have to deal with the crying that comes after a silly little thing like getting too much water up your nose.

I won’t have to deal with any of it because, at the moment, I’m a runaway and I like it. Some other adult will have to take care of all those shenanigans. I just happen to be on a mini vacation within my vacation and that makes me unavailable right now.

As a dutiful mother, I’ve never actually taken off without making arrangements first. Even if I’m running to the store quick, I check with my husband and give him the “FYI you’re in charge of the kids for a minute” spiel. Otherwise, he’d just assume I’m home somewhere, taking care of any and all business as usual. Didn’t happen this time though.

I just took off and allowed my little butt to float away.

Besides, all three of my kids have their life jackets on, my whole family is in the vicinity, and for cryin’ out loud, my husband IS THERE. Now that I have wiped away that last drop of guilt, I can get back to enjoying my solo time before the next killer pontoon or jet ski crosses my path.

What does a mommy think about when she is entirely alone?

  • I’m thinking about how great this feels right now, rocking back and forth on a perfect lake on a perfect day.
  • I’m thanking God for answering my prayers and giving us three days of a hot July sun when it was forecasted to rain every single day of our vacation.
  • Yeah, it did cross my mind to write a blog about this. Those “blog thoughts” never leave you!
  • I’m realizing that I’ve never been this alone before, like completely alone with myself. At least not since I’ve had kids. Obviously, I’ve been alone in my house or in the car or out running errands but all of those things still come with distractions. Here I am–just me, myself, and I–chillin’ in a floatie on a lake. It is both weird and special at the same time.
  • I finally get to be one with nature. I would love to go hiking in the woods one day or find a nice secluded spot in the country somewhere to ponder the wonders of the universe. The problem is, I’m too chicken shiz to do any of that by myself, you know, because of rapists and serial killers and such. The lake is, for the most part, a safe choice.
  • I’m thinking, crap. Somehow I floated a lot further out than I meant to without even noticing. Time to paddle.
  • And, I hope the diamond doesn’t fall out of my ring while I’m struggling like The Little Engine That Could across the lake. My aunt lost her diamond at a lake once so I can’t resist checking my hand every so often to make sure mine is still there. Maybe I should leave it at home next time…

I am now ready to go back and spend some quality time with my family.

My little dude and a new furry friend he met at the sandbar

I feel so refreshed and renewed. Such a simple thing, floating on a lake. I’m inches away from the shore now, reminiscing about my beautiful, peaceful afternoon and then, it hit me. No, not the key that unlocks all of life’s mysteries. My husband’s football. It just hit me in the damn face!

Apparently, that man I married thought it would be cute to throw the football near enough to me that I’d get a little splash from it hitting the water. Unfortunately (for me or for him?), my floatie turned ever so slightly after the release and the ball caught me right on the side of my face. I’m sorry, was my tranquil lake dream making you jealous, honey? That’ll wake a person right up.

I’ve never seen that man move so fast to apologize to me in the entire 15 years that we’ve been together. However, that didn’t mean I didn’t squeeze out a salty tear from the shock and embarrassment of it all. I was hormonal that day–don’t judge me. My husband always says I’d cry over spilled milk anyway and guess what? I actually did once when I was pregnant. Ha! Hormones and me aren’t friends.

Hubby is the one driving the boat. Football, anyone?

I was totally fine. No damage was done, thank goodness. It wasn’t even close to a Marsha Brady incident for any of you that are old enough to know what I’m talking about. The fact that my husband was genuinely sorry was good enough for me. Of course, being the woman that I am, football-to-the-face just might come in handy when I need a little extra leverage on my side. Perhaps we’ll disagree on a paint color or what movie to go to and I’ll be like, “remember that one time at band camp the lake?”

In the end, I couldn’t have asked for a better summer vacation.

Miss Sassafras and her ‘s’mores

We spent time with my parents and sisters, the guys got along as usual, the cousins ran wild, and the weather was, as I said, perfect. Even if it hadn’t been, I went into this vacation with a low bar expectation. Our plan B for the forecasted thunderstorms was a generous amount of pool time and that would’ve been alright because at least we’d get to celebrate our country’s freedom together as one big, happy family.

The lake ended up being the main course but it came with a side of pool

Lucky for us, our time at the resort was spent boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, having a bonfire with ‘s’mores, swimming, hot tubbing, fireworks and a smidgen of libations to round it all off. In addition, I celebrated America’s freedom by celebrating my own freedom and claiming a small moment for myself. It was easy enough to do.

And all it took was a girl and her floatie.

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July with plenty of moments to cherish!

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