This year's trip was different from any other for a lot of reasons. This was our first trip down since my grandpa's passing, God love him. I haven't blogged about it previously, but my grandpa was an amazing man and a pillar in our family. I'm even more grateful than ever for our Florida vacations in the past in that he was able to meet both of our kids and even though they may be too young to remember him, they'll be able to see his pictures with them and know that they were such an important part of his life.
Another hardship that our family had to face was the untimely passing of my Aunt Sandie who also lived in Florida and my grandma's oldest daughter. Her death happened only a week prior to our already scheduled visit. For this, my dad and my Aunt Shirley remained with my grandma for the duration of our time there as well. In the deepest sadness, we found joy. Being together as a family, supporting one another and sharing laughter and memories brought us all a step closer to healing.
Without dwelling on our sadness, we made the most of our trip, filling our days with fun and togetherness.
Speaking of added bonus: despite the unfortunate circumstances, it was really nice having my dad assuming his Grandpa role while we were there.
It was easily the highlight of our time there for all of us. They had exotic animals for the kids to touch. (yes, that would be an alligator that my son is petting!)