I make every effort to live in the now. It is generally not helpful to dwell in the past or to live for the future. However, there are times that for me, visiting the past is very healing and revealing.
My mother and father passed away in 2012 and 2013. While I loved them dearly, there are family friends who I have always felt incredibly close to, who I have always considered my ‘second parents’. They have lived on the beach in Southwest Florida since 1959. My absolute best memories of my Dad are there on that beach. Perhaps it’s because this was before he became so judgmental. Or perhaps it’s because I was so young that I never saw that side of him at that time. However, in thinking back, that is when he seemed the most light-hearted and carefree. My Mom was always perfect in my eyes so I can’t think of her in any situation where she wasn’t wonderful.
My Mom, Dad and my sisters and myself would journey to the home of my parents then-best friends a few times a year. I find that at age 60, I am attached to that place, and to those memories more than anything else in my childhood. Perhaps it’s because my parents are gone. And perhaps it’s because half of my ‘second parents’ has recently died. I’m feeling more and more that it is the place that I’m now tied to. As a child, I could never hold back the tears when it was time to leave, and as my husband has seen, I’ve not changed even now. Our friend often comments on how every single time as a very small child, I was in the back seat, with tears in my eyes as we drove away.
I was born in Miami and then spent some years growing up in Alabama but I have never felt an attachment to any place I lived in Alabama. I couldn’t wait to leave Alabama and did so the moment I was able to. I find it interesting that I feel no ties to the home where I grew up yet feel tied to this one spot on our planet. It’s where I feel the most grounded. Am I the only one who feels this type of connection?
I’ve lived many places since then, and the last 20+ years have been here in South Florida. I feel South Florida is where I am meant to be and have no plans to leave.
After I grew up and was on my own, I continued to spend a great deal of time on that beach with those wonderful people. My husband knows and loves them as I do. We continue to go there at least once a month now, because we’ve seen that those we love who are of that age group are starting to leave us and we don’t want to miss a moment with them if we can help it.
I looked through some old pictures, hoping to find some pics of my dad surf fishing there, or relaxing or doing little projects with our friends. But all I found were some from a trip he and my Mom made from Miami to Key West in 1947 right before they were married, which are embedded here. One is at Bayfront Park in Key West and the other is on one of the many bridges between Miami and Key West.
Yes, this is an incredibly sentimental post today, but somehow, it just seems to feel right to share this. My husband has always said since we were first together, that I’m his ‘Real Emotional Girl’ (a Randy Newman song). I do indeed live from the heart and when one does that, it can leave one open to a lot of pain. It’s just important to learn from it all. It seems today is one of those days that I wear the ‘Real Emotional Girl’ description proudly.