On our last night of vacation, my daughter snuggled up to me, her body so warm and heavy with sleep. “I love you mama,” she whispered. We had opted for a king sized bed in our suite instead of doing smaller 2 full sized, and I realized in that moment this was probably the last vacation that we would all get to sleep together, cuddled up and close in an otherwise enormous bed. I couldn’t help but grin as I fought off sleep, my limbs heavy from a day full of excursions and a few mint mohitos with a delicious dinner. It had been a glorious vacation.
Earlier that evening, we had watched the fire show along the pool. Emmaline had marveled over the fire dancers,” the fire girls and boys,” alternating between her father’s shoulders and my arms, whooping and clapping with no prompting. “Look, momma!” She said, pointing at the fire. “Take a picture!” She instructed. I snapped one of her and her father first, wanting to imprint every moment I knew I would forget over time without the digital permenance.
As we walked down the stairs on our last trip to the pool, counting the floors in a number game we had made up and done countless times now– “what number is that?” “Four!” Emmaline said, proudly, I captured father and daughter holding hands– even though she said she could do it herself, even though she was a big girl. “I’m getting older,” she tells us, smiling up with her perfect smile. She makes up stories about her three sisters with forever changing names– Hildie, Mesa, Nenee— they tell her to be careful going down the ladder, once she fell and had to go the emergency room, she tells us. She got a concussion. This all happens on the stairwell journies, from flights five to one. The picture helps to remind me when the memories become fuzzy.
While at the airport, waiting for our plane, she waves goodbye to Mexico. She says “adiós” and is sad we have to go. I am too. Our vacation was an idyll, a perfect little getaway for our family to be a family, a place where time stood still.
I can’t wait to go back again.