My brother, Travis, left for Iraq. He called me from Norfolk, VA around 11:00 am yesterday to tell me he was getting ready to fly to Washington DC to catch a plane to Germany, and from there he would fly to Bahrain. He's in the Coast Guard so he'll be on a cutter patrolling the oil rigs and shipping routes.
He should be able to come home in the next 4-6 months, and I'm hoping that Maddy and I can fly out to San Diego to see him when he comes home. She's never been on a plane or seen the ocean. I've never been to San Diego.
Jessica and Kelli and I flew to Dallas when they were 7 and 2. I was worried that Kelli would be scared but Jessica ended up being the one who freaked out a little bit. She didn't want to look out the window at the clouds, but once we could see the ground, she was okay.
When my brother was stationed in Panama City, he took Jessica and Kelli for a week. I have a picture of the three of them in the ocean. I'm glad they got to see it. I first saw it, at the ripe age of 30. (I'd been landlocked for quite a while.) At that time Travis was stationed outside Sarasota. The white sand beaches were so beautiful and the ocean - my God. I grew up on a lake so I love the water, but to stand on the shore and not see the opposite one - wow. I felt so small. One night there was a full moon and we sat on the beach at midnight and the moon was so huge, reflected in the water, hanging just right at the horizon. If I close my eyes, I can still see it, and hear the waves, and remember the feeling of peacefulness I had then. I use that memory quite a lot now.
I've also started planning a trip for me and Maddy to Sarasota. We may not go, because we may go to San Diego, but for me, part of the fun of a trip is the planning. I love going on sites like TripAdvisor to read reviews of hotels, and sending away for brochures and information. We won't be staying at the Ritz, but it's neat to dream about the expensive places.
I guess since Jess and Kelli died, I have a sense of urgency to make sure that Maddy gets to experience things before it's too late. Maybe that's why I really think I'll take her to Florida. And if she gets to go to San Diego this year too, then bonus! I'm not trying to spoil her, I just don't want to have any regrets. Life is short.