I can hear them.
Crashing onto shore.
The whispering wind graces my rosy cheeks.
I can breathe.
You see, this is what we gave up. I say I gave up my job, but I didn't. I quit my job. I gave up vacations. Vacations like these. With crashing waves and whispering wind. This is what we gave up.
My husband left his work phone at home. At home. On the counter. Next to the microwave...it sits...where he always leaves it. It can chirp to an empty house. We are listening to the crashing waves and the whispering wind.
The laughs and giggles. The excitement my son has for his cousins. To play. To run. To enjoy. Those laughs fill the empty space of the room, fill it with magical memories that will last a lifetime. A lifetime of giggles and laughs.
It's with such an open heart, one full of a new understanding of gratitude, that I accept these gifts, that we experience this vacation. My aunt, my father's sister, has invited us here. Paid for our tickets, our room. To share this space, this time, these-room-filling giggles with her, her husband, and their two girls.
I quit my job. I gave up vacations, but I have gained family. Family that values me for my sacrifices. Family that sees me for who I am. Family that loves me despite my imperfections.
Do you hear that? Do you feel that? It's my heart healing. It's my entitlement crashing. It's my gratitude. It's the validation I feel. It's the relief of knowing my dad's family still loves me, even if he can't right now. It's knowing I am worth their time, even when he says I am not worth his.
So, you see, I gave up vacations when I quit my job. I let go of hope of rekindling the relationship with my dad. I gave up waiting for validation from him and I faced the sting of his rejection. It's been a long journey to this point here. Long. Hurtful. Cleansing.
But, in the whispering wind, I can hear it. The giggles and laughter. In the now...in the future. The gratitude for these moments, of the memories with my dad's sister, my lovely aunt. The validation. The love. The honor.
Having given up so much these last few years, I am now feeling it two-fold in return.
I can breathe.
Otter Rock, Oregon
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