February 10-23, 2019
We made it to Sanibel in one piece, but unfortunately it didn’t take us long once we were here to fall apart. Both Baylor and Louisa got pretty sick- Baylor spiked a high fever and Louisa coughed so hard that Nona and I had to take shifts and stay up with her around the clock. It was a pretty intense and not at all relaxing first few days here, but everyone is on the mend and we’ve been able to have some fun during the second half of our stay. Baylor and I have gone on trips to the library, to get donuts (as per tradition), and to the playground. Baylor and Papa have made it down to the pool several times and Louisa and I even joined them once! She really liked the water- she just completely relaxed and went into this zen-like trance. It’s the calmest I think I’ve ever seen her! I thought she would want to splash around a bit, but she was content just to lounge. Baylor did his share of splashing though! He showed off his swimming skills to Papa, who helped him practice swimming farther and using “big arms” in the water. We haven’t gotten down to the beach a whole lot because of the kids being sick and just the general chaos of trying to wrangle everybody, but Baylor and I have gone on several walks. He enjoys finding shells for his collection and taking pictures of the sea life we find. We’ve made homemade pizzas, sat up on the sun deck, drank margaritas (or in Baylor’s case “margaritas”), and watched the sun set.
Papa and I even got to go on a walk by ourselves, which was nice so we could talk about our upcoming job hunt and the changes that (we hope) are in store for us over the next year or so. It’s a little bit of a nerve wracking time as Michael finishes training and we begin to look for a place to settle down and call home. There are lots of factors to consider- all the different variables that Michael is looking for in a job, my preference to be closer to my parents (and ideally in the South), and a school that fits what Baylor and Louisa need…. It’s a lot that needs to come together at once. We’re not even sure anything exists that meets all of the parameters we’re looking for, let alone that they’re even hiring or that Michael might be chosen for the job. It feels like a Very Big Deal to have been training for 11 years and to be feeling like… now what? Will it all have been worth it in the end? I certainly hope so. My dad has always been one of my favorite people to turn to at times like these. He gives practical advice with a side of empathy and compassion. It was just what I needed to really clarify what I am looking for out of all of this and help me gain some perspective. I’ve felt very conflicted about whether staying in Indianapolis was the right decision for our family- we love Baylor’s school and our church and we’ve made some wonderful friends there. I’ve felt selfish for wanting to go back to the South, despite that having been the plan since we were engaged, because I wasn’t sure if I would be punishing the rest of the family just to get what I wanted. And as we have settled in here, it seemed the logical decision to just stay. But in the end, I feel sure that pushing to go back South is the right decision for us. It IS extremely important to me that my kids grow up as Southerners- that they internalize the values and culture of the South, that they are close enough to Auburn to go if they want to, and that they are close enough to my family- both extended and immediate- that they identify as Reids just as much as they are Burks. They may not carry my name, but I want my family to be as close to my kids’ hearts as they are to mine. It is my dearest hope that we can make that happen. We’re soon going to begin the process of finding and applying to jobs- it’s going to be a long, anxiety-filled year as we see what opportunities present themselves. I pray that we can find just the right fit for our family somewhere and that Michael’s hard work is rewarded.
We ended our time at the beach by going out to eat at the new Doc Ford’s. It was quite fitting that it was Louisa’s first restaurant on the island- at just this time last year, I called Michael from that very deck to tell him that our baby was going to be a girl!!!! We were just over the moon excited and I’m still just so thankful every single day when I look at my kids and realize I get to be the mommy of a boy AND a girl. How lucky am I to get to experience the best of both worlds?! Ever since I can remember, I always wanted to have both a boy and a girl (really I wanted 2 of each!) and I feel so incredibly blessed that that dream came true for me.
It’s been so much fun to have Louisa at the beach and show her a few of our favorite things while we’re here. It’s so special to me that our kids have a “second home” that holds a lot of very fond memories. Michael and I joke that all of our important life decisions have been made walking on the beach here, and it isn’t far from the truth. My parents bought the condo in Sanibel when I was a sophomore in college- that was 12 years ago now. It has been the backdrop to a lot of important events in my adult life, and I’m so happy that my kids will grow up with this as the scene for many happy memories for years to come. It will be more than just a beach, but a home away from home. It feels like home to me even now, and I didn’t grow up with it. This will be a very sweet and nostalgic setting for them as they grow to be adults themselves. It’s a beautiful gift we’ve all been given and I feel so thankful for it.