The week after the swim meet was our spring break.
Rather than head back home, I arranged a few visits with friends, so we were able to spend a few more days in Florida basically for free.
We left St. Petersburg on Monday and headed a little bit further south to see my aunt — my mom’s sister — in Bradenton.
It had been so long since the kids had seen her that none of them remembered her.
They weren’t sure what to expect, but were pretty happy when they discovered she had a little dog.
Her name is Nina.
They LOVED her. Even Number 5 who is totally petrified of dogs loved her.
Well, she was petrified.
Nina got her over her fear of dogs.
My aunt lives pretty close to Coquina Beach.
And Coquina Beach is GORGEOUS.
I was there about twenty years ago when I was in college. I didn’t remember it at all.
I also didn’t remember how beautiful the Gulf Coast of Florida is.
It was like being in the Bahamas.
The sand is white and soft and the water is clear and turquoise.
We had a great time with my aunt, and it was very difficult for me to leave.
I can tell you one thing.
It will not take me another 20 years to get back there.
Even Nina didn’t want us to go.
She hopped into the car in protest.
We said goodbye to Nina and my aunt, and we started the trip back toward CT.
We had two more stops to make. The next one was in Northern Florida.
We were going to stay with a good friend of mine.
A good friend of mine who I had never met…
About five years ago when I first started running Not Your Average Fitness Course, I had a client named Brooke.
She was a single mom of twin boys and she lived in Florida.
I remember being so impressed by her and thinking, Wow! This chick has her hands full!
Life got in the way and Brooke fell off the map around the third week of the course.
But she would be back a year or two later.
I don’t remember exactly when it was, but she registered again.
And again, the same thing happened.
She fell off the wagon a week or two into the course.
This happened maybe one or two more times over the course of the next couple years.
And then about a year ago, Brooke resurfaced again.
I don’t know if she even registered for the fitness course when I heard from her. I think she may have just sent me an email.
She had been really bothered by my lack of “branding” on the printables my course members received.
And she offered to go through and edit/revise them for me and make sure my logo was on them.
Just because she wanted to do something nice for me.
As often happens, I read the email but never replied to her. Because I am terrible about replying to emails.
But Brooke didn’t take offense. She “got” me.
It’s why she kept reappearing, I guess.
And then… somehow… I really don’t remember how it happened, Brooke and I spoke on the phone.
She offered to help me out a little bit more.
We became sort of accountability partners at first.
She kept me accountable and on track with business related stuff.
I didn’t really do anything for her. It was a very one-sided relationship.
At first she was a sounding board. Then she became kind of a business coach. She kept me focused and on track. Because I get like five bazillion ideas in my head at once and I try to do all of them.
And I end up finishing none of them.
Then things kind of snowballed from there.
She was like my therapist, life coach, and business coach all wrapped into one.
And we started talking weekly.
We still do.
I talk to her every Friday morning at 8:30 unless something unexpected comes up.
And in this evolution of weekly phone calls, she really became my BFF.
She knows me better than anyone else.
And I had never met her.
So when my return route home took me right through the place she lives, you can sure as shit bet we were gonna make a stop there.
The kids were like,
MOM! WE ARE NOT STAYING WITH SOME RANDOM PERSON YOU HAVE NEVER EVEN MET BEFORE!!!
It was hard for them to comprehend how I could “know” her without ever actually meeting her.
When I pulled up in front of her house she was outside jumping around with two huge blow up hands on her hands.
The kids were like, Who the f*&k is this crazy person?
I jumped out of the car and gave her a huge hug.
It was kind of strange.
Because it didn’t feel like we were meeting each other for the first time.
It just felt like it had been a while since we had seen each other.
Like we had always been friends.
Her boys were at school still and it was early in the afternoon on a Wednesday.
So we got a tour of the house and stretched out for a little bit, and then I took the kids to Jacksonville Beach so Brooke could finish up some work she had to do before her kids came home.
Jacksonville Beach isn’t quite as beautiful as Coquina Beach, but it was still really nice.
The water isn’t as tropical looking and it was much colder than the Gulf, but the waves were great for boogie boarding.
We left the beach and headed back to Brooke’s house.
When we got there, dinner was ready. I didn’t have to think about it.
Her boys had just gotten home, and after about a thirty minute period of getting that first-time-meeting-people awkwardness out, the kids all had a great time playing together.
They played Lego and Just Dance and the piano and rode bikes and scooters and played a little cornhole and had a really fun time.
We stayed over and woke up the next morning.
I had not looked at my email in days, and I really had to check it.
If you read Part I of our road trip, you know I forgot my laptop at home when we left.
My mom had mailed it down to me, and I got it before we left the swim meet hotel.
But I hadn’t really used it yet.
So at about 7:30 a.m. I sat down at the kitchen table, fired it up, and spent about forty-five minutes getting back to people and catching up.
And you know how many times I was bothered by kids?
I didn’t make breakfast or find anything or answer any questions.
Brooke did it all.
She took care of her kids.
She did some of my laundry and braided all the girls’ hair.
She even made little fruit cups for all the kids.
YEAH, I TOOK A PICTURE OF THAT SHIT.
You know why?
Because this NEVER happens for me.
Waking up and not only NOT being bombarded by kids but being able to get stuff done when they are all awake without being interrupted was…
It was like Brooke was a mind reader.
Except she isn’t.
She’s a mom.
And she knows.
She thought about the details. She anticipated the questions and the interruptions and the problems and the meltdowns.
AND SHE RAN COVER FOR ME.
Because that’s what moms — and wives — do.
They think about everything before it happens and they make life easier for other people.
AND BOY WAS IT AWESOME.
It was on Thursday morning at Brooke’s house that I was reminded of how fucking awesome moms are.
MOMS ARE AWESOME.
Especially when they work together.
And now I know why Glennon Doyle jumped directly into the lady pond after getting divorced from her husband.
It’s not because she’s in love with a woman.
Okay, I’m sure that’s part of it.
But also because having a wife is like having a clone.
I loved having a wife for almost 24 hours.
But what I really loved the most was meeting my BFF in person.
It was like we had known each other all of our lives. Like we were just picking up where we left off.
And I really, really, really, really, REALLY, REALLY
didn’t want to leave her house.
Neither did Number 5, 6 and 7.
But we had to go.
So we took a couple pictures.
And then we hit the road.
We miss our “new” friends.
And we miss the beach and the sun and the fun.
We made a lot of really awesome memories in those two weeks.
We are crazy for you, Florida!
And there is one thing I know for sure.
We will be back.