The End

My holiday posting is coming to an end, unfortunately.  That means it's time to move on.  And that also means school is starting in one week..  Can you even believe that?  I most surely can not.  Let's get on with our last day with the Eagles family in Florida. 
 
We had a slow, lazy morning.  You  know, my favorite.  Then decided to take a drive into Clearwater.  There had been talk of seeing the dolphin from the A Dolphin's Tail, the movie but we, meaning us grown ups, were thinking more of lunch or a coffee and a leisurely stroll exploring a new area.  So that's what we chose to do.  The beach was breathtaking.  The whitest sand I've ever seen.  Definitely more crowded than our stretch of beach, but beautiful nonetheless.  Restaurants and shops lined the marina and we had many choices.  Can't remember the name of where we ate but I do know we had a gorgeous view of the sea.  And there we sat, ordering fried pickles for our mates to try and reminiscing over the last week's adventures. 

The group at lunch, minus the two Daddies

The Clearwater Marina

Thing 4 and Siobhan, look at those sweet faces
 
So we walked after lunch and shopped a bit and walked some more.  Then we spotted a gelato cafe and snuck in there for some air conditioning and a frozen treat.  The little Italian lady behind the counter had the sweetest accent and bless her heart she was not only serving gelato but making the full menu all on her own.  We waited patiently and it was worth it.  The best gelato I've ever tasted accompanied by a double shot espresso that would keep me going the rest of the day and late into the night.  Which everyone knows you need on your very last day at the beach with your friends who live International lives. 
 
Then there were two...
 
Still laughing and remembering all our fun over the past week we were all ready to soak up some more sun and surf time.  This time the camp wasn't completely set up so the Dads made the best of it.  The children all ran around in and out of the sea, in and out of the pool again.  Shell hunting and swimming and digging for sand crabs.  Our friends had to depart the beach early for a family dinner nearby and left us on our own.  We were determined not to leave before the sun did.  And we didn't.  There was more fishing and walking and picture taking and sunset watching. 
It was a marvelous day. 
 
And after such a day we made dinner with whatever left overs were in the refrigerator, showered all the sand out, hopefully, packed our bags and were ready for bed.  Just at that moment there was a knock on the door and everyone knew what that meant.  Our friends were back for one last night on the balcony, one last iced lolly(popsicle) together and one last laugh.  Yes please.  Forget that I had wet hair and my pajamas on, no matter.  There we sat late into the night again.  Discussing religion and politics, America, football(soccer) and careers, the next move and when we'd all meet again.  Even with knowing what the next morning held for us, long drives for each family, we were determined not to spoil the night with goodbyes.  We hugged necks, carried sleeping children to bed and simply said, "see you in the morning".  Which we all knew was only a few hours away.  No difference though.  It all made sense to us.  Prolong the inevitable as long as possible. 
 
The next morning the sun rose just as it always does.  Waves were still crashing and we were loading Betsy for the drive that awaited us.  We made small talk with our friends, traded left over food and paper products and then we hugged each other's children and kissed their cheeks and embarrassed the boys to no tomorrow.  Onto the girls and I became weepy.  Dads hugged and shook hands, and then Suzanne and I looked at each other and the tears came.  Whispered words in each other's ears and a hug and then backs turned and time to go.  No looking back. 
 
It was hard this time to let go.  When you fall so easily into a rhythm.  Life lived together in the most foreign of circumstances and then again on holiday it was like no time had passed.  I am grateful to be able to say that I have friends like that.  I am grateful for a beautiful week of memories made. 
 
One of my favorites that Steve snapped over the week, that was our view.  Wow!



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