We have several friends going down during the break who have thoughtfully asked what they can bring back for us since we can't go. It's true that there are things in Rocky Point that we look forward to buying, but that's not the best part of the trip. It's the feel and smell of it and the little nuances and traditions we've picked up in the 7 or so years we've been going. Friday night, the night we usually would be packing up, we sat at dinner with the girls and reminisced about past. Kady's first favorite memory is the way her dad always drives around the round about several times just before we arrive at our resort, windows down, music blaring, celebratory soda in hand! They both like getting their hair braided and buying virgin strawberry daiquiris from the swim-up bar. Chandler likes how we always try to sneak into the resort next door and use their slide and how we would play Ping-Pong at The Reef and have lunch at Moonshots above the fish market (I think Faith has a crush on the bartender there!). We all will miss homemade happy hour on the beach at sunset, swimming in the ocean, and looking for dolphins and sand dollars. Last year, Faith found the biggest most perfect sand dollar I have ever seen. I swore that it must have been purchased at the gift shop, but she had her dad with her to attest to it's authenticity. To this day she beams with pride when she talks about it. I will miss the feeling of ease that comes over me when we open the condo door, see the ocean on the other side and breath in Mexico...the smell to me that is family, fun, and just ahhhh! all that we work so hard for during the rest of the year.
Several times Chandler's sister, Wendi, and her family would go with us. My 15 year old niece, Katherine, was recently assigned the task of writing her memoir. Her story was beautifully written and centered mostly around Faith's cancer. I selfishly never really considered how it was affecting the kids, any of the kids for that matter, other than my own, but it does affect them. It affects us all. Katherine's tale included some her memories of our trips to Mexico. I am going to close by including an excerpt from that. Thank you, Katherine for sharing it with me and allowing me to share it here! Thank you to Wendi and Dan for allowing your kids to skip school to come to Mexico and make memories with us!
We used to travel down to Rocky Point Mexico every year in October for a week. Faith and Kady would have school off but Ryan and I would skip school. We would fly out to Arizona and then drive the long drive down to Rocky Point. The cars would be loaded with food and supplies. There was barely enough room for us! Normally we would switch up the families that rode together. For example, instead of my mom, dad, Ryan and I riding together in the same car, My Uncle Chandler, my mom, Faith and I would ride down together. I remember Faith and I used to cram all of our Barbies into the car and we would play Barbies or watch Barbie movies the entire way down there.
One time on the road trip to Mexico, one of the cars got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. We put on the spare tire and stopped at the next stop to pay and get a new tire. While some of the adults took care of the tire, the rest took us kids to a McDonald’s nearby. Faith and I decided to have a race and we raced to the McDonald’s to see who could get there first. Of
course, after the other kids saw what we were doing, they ran for McDonald’s too. And the race was on. Legs trembling and
breath rattling, we reached McDonald’s and we just laughed because no one knew who won. We ate McDonald’s and
played games until the car was fixed and then we continued on to Mexico.
The place where we stayed was right on the beach in Mexico. At night, when the tide was out, we would go out and collect sand crabs and seashells. Faith and I stayed together and every once in a while, she would turn to me with a big grin on her face saying excitedly, “I found one! I found one!” I would help her get them into a bucket and we would continue along the
beach until we had a bucket full of seashells and crabs. On some nights, when the sky was especially clear, Faith, Kady, Ryan and I would go down to the beach and would go stargazing. The sky was amazing and in those moments, we felt so small and were stunned by the beauty of it all.
It really is crazy, how fast a life can change. In less than two months Faith went from walking all over St. Louis to barely even being able to walk to the bathroom without help. I love her so much. She is such a brave girl and I am so proud of her. I know that even though she has changed in so many ways, she is also the same girl I went crab-hunting with under the stars in Mexico. In these moments, I feel so small and yet I am stunned by the beauty of it all, and the strength that is family.