To get just a few people in scheduling their vacations at the same time is very challenging. To get 19 people to organize such a defeat is practically impossible. In summer of 2010, all 19 of us were able to organize a great escape for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Riviera Maya in Mexico was the selected destination and as all my other siblings and their families flew confirmed, we took our chances and flew with Delta standby. Being in July, most flights are usually filled up and for the first portion to Atlanta, with only 4 seats available, my wife and kids were able to catch the direct flight to Atlanta. I ,on the other hand, took a flight to Detroit and had to sprint to the Atlanta departing gate with only 7 minutes to spare. As the announcement was being made for the last call to all passengers needing to be on board, eye contact was made with the gate agent and she surely knew by the redness in my face that I have just run a marathon. Timing was perfect, cleared the flight and reunite with my family in Atlanta. Our overnight stay was comfortable, clear the early morning flight and met the full party in Mexico.
The resort was very large and had different villas along the perimeter. The pool was positioned in the center and the walk from our room to the beach was definitely long and tiring. The lobby was grandiose with its marble cruising tables and leather sofas.
The routine was like every other all-inclusive beach resort we traveled to. From breakfast, head to the beach. Grab a filling lunch under some shade. Return to the beach for several more hours to then visit the pool for the remainder of the late afternoon. 19 of us sporadically leave for our showers and prepare for our evening galas. Just like clockwork, everyone knew their roles and this repeated for the full duration of our stay. We even met a good friend, Johnny Romeo, and his family staying at the same hotel to add to our already large group.
It was so pleasant seeing my parents with their 9 grandchildren. I am sure they must be so pleased and blessed in seeing them all together. Such an accomplishment.
The days continued with sunny skies and the night with warm breezes. The evening suppers were sticky and luckily the shows were featured in a well air conditioned theatre. I always remain pleasantly surprised in all these resorts that the entertainment staff are so talented in everything they do. They seem to never run out of batteries and their energies become so contagious. Do they ever sleep?
More activities were done on the beach from jet skiing to kayaking. Allotting a few hours away from the group, Johnny and I also scuba dove and were actually disappointed with the visibility and no real vibrant coral reefs.
As I write this blog 8 years later, I can’t help being saddened with the progressively deteriorating illness my Dad is suffering. A man who was once fit both physically and mentally has become completely sedentary and no recollection of his past. Alzheimer has hit him hard and despite a slow progression in 2011, he has become completely incapable of practically doing anything. The burden on my Mom is what makes the everyday simple chores so exhausting. Luckily we all try to ease the pain and help with the best we can, but this has become an eye opener in that life is so fragile and can change without a moments notice. One thing is for sure……his early days never really illustrated any compassion or feelings, but for whatever reason, he now has become tremendously affectionate.
Vacations, or other forms of family get together, have to be cherished for one will never know what the future holds. Embrace, cherish and fulfill all desires. Like the band “Trooper” released a song in the late ’70’s…….”We’re here for a good time, not a long time”.
From our many vacations in the mid 70’s to Hampton Beach to a long stretch of Wildwood retreats in the 80’s, 2010 in Mexico clearly shows that time doesn’t slow down for anyone. Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Mom and Dad!