Lisa’s Lines

By: 
Lisa Ingebrand, LifeEnterprise

We missed Easter this year. Well, most of it. My family of four (my husband, John, daughters Anna, age 11, and Ellen, age 9, and myself) recently spent a week in Florida with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s family of five. They have three kiddos—ages 7, 5, and 3, and one more on the way. Basically, the Ingebrands invaded Florida. We soaked up the sun by the pool, swam in the ocean, buried the dads in the sand, took an airboat ride through the Everglades, ate alligator, went parasailing, dined on fresh seafood, hunted for shark teeth, searched for shells on Sanibel, built sandcastles, and enjoyed our time together in Fort Myers/Fort Myers Beach. We had great weather all week and shared lots of laughs. After a full year of lockdowns and cancelled trips, a change of scenery was refreshing. We took precautions wherever we went to stay healthy and tried to stay out of overcrowded areas. And, now, we are quarantining for our allotted time to ensure the health of others. (Thankfully, no one in our group has shown any signs or symptoms of COVID.) Our decision to travel was spurred by our travel vouchers we needed to use after we cancelled our family trip to Disney World last year. Of course, we couldn’t just fly direct. We had to fly from Minneapolis to Dallas, Texas, and then to Fort Myers, but it all worked out. (It’s so nice having kids who can carry their own stuff and are comfortable traveling!) We were fortunate to find a lovely little condo on the beach right next to Bowditch Park (the quieter, north end of Fort Myers Beach) on VRBO. It was perfect for us. Every morning, Ellen and I got up early to search for shells and other treasures. She proudly rounded up multiple coconuts and made dad chop them open. Sometimes we found starfish. Other days we found sea urchins and sand dollars. We always found shells and learned something new. You learn so much when you travel! And, when you travel with kids everything takes on a new level of amazement. Dolphins dancing in the waves. Pelicans diving for their dinner. Little lizards zipping across the sidewalks, the marvel of low tides, and the speed at which ice cream cones drip in the Florida sunshine. We were blessed with a great week, but it didn’t end there—at least for my four. Thanks to a flat tire on our airplane out of Fort Myers, my family of four got “stuck” in Florida for two extra days. (The “other” Ingebrand family was on a different flight and got home just fine.) At first, it was frustrating. We had to go back through baggage claim and get our luggage, rent another vehicle, and make arrangements for continued pet/house care back home. On top of that, we’d miss our family’s Easter celebration. Ellen was in tears when she realized she’d miss out on our family egg coloring and egg hunt. My sweet Anna tried to make the best of the news, but was totally bummed. She was ready to go home to her kitty cat. So, what do you do when you’re forced to extend your vacation by two days and two nights? Whatever you can find (and afford) to do. (And, no, unfortunately we didn’t have trip insurance.) We walked Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, ate orange ice cream at Sun Harvest Citrus, visited the Shell Factory and Nature Park (that’s a weird place), and visited Manatee Park. To fill in the gaps, we swam in the hotel pool, went out to eat, and hung out as a family in our hotel room. On Easter morning, we woke up early and made our way to the airport (again). Anna and Ellen used our airport-food-buying vouchers to pick out their own Easter goodies before boarding our flight to Charlotte, NC. Yep. No direct flights for us. Then, of course in Charlotte, the plane was overbooked by FOUR people. I almost cried. It was a great vacation, but I was ready to go home (and all of us were officially out of clean underwear). Somehow—Ellen is calling it an Easter miracle—we got on the plane and didn’t have to get off. We finally got home late Sunday afternoon to a house filled with hidden, candy-filled eggs, Easter baskets jam-packed with goodies, and three happy kitty cats. And, our family postponed egg coloring and the hunt so we could participate! Easter is for rejoicing. Jesus has risen! Being home to celebrate this miracle with our family and friends (even though it’s a bit delayed) is truly a blessing. The trip was wonderful, but in many ways it has reminded us that being home together is best.

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