There are many things in life to be grateful for; that warm cup of coffee in the morning that allows you to resemble some form of an intelligent person, the delicious hug your child gives you when you least expect it, taking a sip of a smooth glass of Bordeaux while you look across the table at your friend’s laughing eyes, laying in bed next to your son reading “Nate” while he interrupts occasionally to tell you about something funny he did at school that day, trying on that new dress and seeing the reaction on your husband’s face and sleeping each night in a cozy bed of 500 thread-count sheets.
There are many little things, everyday, to be grateful for. And then, sometimes, there is a majorly huge, fantastic, extraordinary thing to be grateful for. Like when your husband plans a wonderful getaway to Grand Cayman, inviting some of your dearest friends, to celebrate your 40th birthday.
The morning we left I was exhausted and achy with fever. I slept and sweated and shivered through the flights. When I stepped off the plane and felt the sunshine on my face, breathed the warm air and heard the calypso music in the distance I willed myself to be better. Once we checked in we were surprised with a chilled bottle of champagne and a tray of delicious sweets, thanks to Darby and Todd. Anthony looked at me tentatively wondering if I’d be able to enjoy the champagne. That first sip started the vacation and sent my fever packing.
“In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now”
– “Don’t Worry By Happy”, Bobby McFerrin
After enjoying mamas, lemonades and sunsets on the beach we had a delicious dinner at Calypso Grill. The next day we did more of the same; drinking, talking and relaxing in the sun.
“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And she’s always gone too long
Anytime she goes away.”
– “Ain’t No Sunshine”, Bill Withers
The most repeated topic of conversation was the sheer amazement each of us felt by just being there. Then we saw our sailboat, our own private sailboat charter for four glorious hours, and we let out a collective gasp and gave Anthony high-fives. As we sat staring out at the crystal clear blue waters, feeling the wind and sun in our face we repeated like a broken record, “This is incredible!”.
Grand Cayman is known for their “domesticated” stingrays. As soon as we jumped in they startling welcomed us, waiting for food. While I quickly swam away others lingered with the stingrays, some feeding them, Anthony even getting a little love bite. We snorkeled with the colorful fish watching their beautiful dance.
“I try to discover
A little something to make me sweeter
Oh baby refrain from breaking my heart
I’m so in love with you
I’ll be forever blue
That you give me no reason
Why you’re making me work so hard”
– “A Little Respect”, Erasure
Between the amazing dinners and celebrity-like boat ride we had corn hole, swimming to the trampoline, “Halloween Oreos”, watching the sunset on the beach and dancing, laughing, talking and annoying everyone around us with our loud music and loud everything else. Yup, everyone loved to hate us.
There are many reasons I am grateful for my friends; for leaving their kids and jobs behind to travel to Grand Cayman, for indulging my every spur of the moment request, for their heartfelt words, for sharing secrets, and for their love of fun. Everyone came with guns blasting, ready to drink, ready to laugh, ready to sacrifice sleep, ready to create inside jokes that will make us giggle when we’re back home in 20 degree weather staring out at a gray sky, ready to remember Jen’s awesome playlist that made everyone want to get groovy, Mimi’s awesome playlist that made everyone want to dance and Darby’s awesome playlist that made everyone want to chill, ready to become best friends with friends they hardly knew or just met, and ready to absorb every little detail that will make this vacation become a shared lifelong memory.
“We’re all sensitive people
With so much to give
Understand me, sugar
Since we’ve got to be here
I love you”
– ” Let’s Get It On”, Marvin Gaye
“All I needed was the love you gave
All I needed for another day
And all I ever knew, only you”
– “Only You”, Yaz