The term 20/20 has come to have a few different meanings. It can be the measurement of visual acuity, of course. In the late 1970’s Barbara Walters was the co-host of a new show called 20/20, which is still on the air. And then there is hindsight, which is always deemed to be 20/20. Things are always much clearer looking back. Though we may have heard of most of those things, none of them really prepared us for the actual weirdness of the year 2020. So, what did I really expect from a big family vacation in 2020?
The days for our vacation were September 6 – 11. The place for our vacation was a new one for us, Marriott’s Crystal Shores in Marco Island, FL. A four hour drive, but we were all okay with that. My parents went with us. Cliff’s Dad went with our son and his family. Rachel and Thomas and their kids would have my parents and Cliff’s Dad in their unit. Cliff and I would have Eric and Kylene and their boys, Thomas’ sister, Pam, and, Autumn and Matt and their boys who spent one night on our pullout couch and then would have a 2 bedroom of their own. Cliff had set us all up in our units and I had set up all the necessaries for my parents, a rented recliner for my Dad for sleeping, oxygen concentrators and portable canisters for both, all to be delivered the Thursday before. Grocery shopping that Sunday, after that, pools and beaches, a trip to the Everglades, and a wonderful time to be had by all! We were excited, we were ready, we were halfway there and having lunch at a delightful little place called Mary-Margaret’s in Arcadia, when I got a phone call from Rachel, she and Thomas always look out for us and had thankfully, arrived early. “Mom, Grandpa’s recliner is here, but the oxygen wasn’t delivered.” And so began our vacation.
I tried calling the oxygen place, but it was Sunday and they were closed. The Marriott tried calling other Marriott’s in the area for us to see if it was accidentally delivered to one of them. It wasn’t. We only had enough oxygen in the car for the trip and a little bit of extra time for ‘just in case’, but not that much ‘just in case.’ And so, I called the only person I could think of, the one who always helps me in time of need, my brother. I explained the situation, he had the solution. Having once worked delivering oxygen, he strapped my parents two concentrators in seatbelts in his car and made the 4 hour trip to Marco Island. He is a gem. He came. He stayed the night. He left early the next morning. Day number one, met and conquered. Praise God. That was our Sunday.
Then came Monday. I woke up and sat on the balcony to watch the sunrise. Of course, I forgot that I was on the Gulf coast and had to turn away from the water to see it, but the sky over the water was just as beautiful. Cliff and I took our morning walk amazed by the colors of the sky, the puffiness of the clouds, the diving pelicans, and the girl who thought a small triangle of cloth was somehow enough for the bottom of a bathing suit. It was to be a lovely day. We were eating breakfast when I got the call from Mom. Dad had mistakenly taken her morning pills. It took Mom 6 months to work up to the dosage of some of her pills and Dad took them all in one fell swoop. And so, I called Poison Control and explained the situation. I told her what he’d taken, I told her what he weighed, she put me on hold for a scary moment and came back and said, “It’s not toxic because of his weight.” I silently thanked God for Dad’s chubbiness. Dad slept deeply for most of that day, just like the Poison Control lady said he would. Mom and I checked on him about every hour or so, Autumn visited with Mom to make sure she was okay and we prayed. That night after dinner, we prayed together for Grandpa and when I went downstairs he was up and taking a shower. Day number two, over and done! God’s faithfulness was evident, our hearts were grateful, and that was our Monday.
On Tuesday, all was well! Eric brought my Dad to our rooms for a visit and I informed him that he was never to lose that gut of his, that’s what saved his life. He told me he knew it would come in handy one day. My brother would be driving down early the next morning, picking up my parents, and driving them home. He would end up getting in the car at 4:00 a.m. and getting home at 5:00 p.m.. As I said, the man’s a gem. While the rest of the family went out for dinner Tuesday night, Dad, Mom, and I had a nice quiet dinner in their room. It was very enjoyable, it was very relaxing, and compared to what I can only guess the restaurant with the other 16 of us was like, it was quiet. I loved every minute of it.
Things are always clearer looking back, hindsight really is 20/20. What do I see when I look back on this fairly chaotic vacation? I see family, that loves, cares for, and serves one another even in chaos. I see the hearts of our children and grandchildren poised and ready to care for their grandparents and great-grandparents any way that they can. I see the faithfulness of a gracious and merciful God who is never surprised by anything and I am grateful for every moment. When you have all of that, what more do you need? Chaos ~ It’s really not that big a deal!