Finally back from our trip to Puerto Rico, and thought I should share a few things. First of all, it was a spur of the moment thing, and even though we were trying to make it a vacation of sorts for the kids, it wasn't really a vacation for us. We found out we had to go on Tuesday, and by Wednesday we were having lunch at our hotel and had the kids sunscreened up and raring to go.
Luckily, there were plenty of distractions from the task at hand, and right away we were chasing iguanas around the pool and trying to convince Lily that the slide wasn't too scary. If you haven't been, it's an odd sort of paradise down there. Outside of the back doors by the beach the rest of the world melts away. The trees and ocean are beautiful, and it's hard remember what life is like back in the real world... outside of the front door (in San Juan, anyway) people are driving like the world is on fire, and the inner city and resorts fighting for space in a sort of haphazard tangle.
Our drive to the second hotel in Ponce was much of the same - stunning hills and valleys, homes jutting out randomly from the hillsides, and cartoon roadsigns reminding you not to fire your guns into the air at Christmas. You know, for the safety of the kids... and the Hilton was an oasis nestled behind some road construction and an overpass, like it was plunked down without regard for the neighbors.
Sara was gone for most of the next couple of days, catching up with her family and managing her way through her father's funeral, so the kids and I spent the days in an awkward peace. Even though we were trapped at the hotel, the kids were worn to the bone by the time bedtime came around from all of the swimming and running from one activity to the next, which made things a bit easier for all of us. It was odd though, because as beautiful as it was, and as good as the food was (and some of it was really, really good) at the end of every day I was ready to go home - and though she didn't let on, even during downtime at the pool or walking around at night listening to the Coqui, Sara seemed like a shadow of who she was a week before. We were back in San Juan by Saturday, and our last day before the flight home was spent trying to pretend we were ourselves again... plus we got to feel our way though our neighborhood, from the Ritz Carlton to the cockfight ring outside of our bedroom window. And by Sunday night, with the kids fast asleep in the back of the car, we finally made it home, and if I had the energy I would have kissed the ground when we arrived.
I didn't know Sara's father all that well. Aside from the few times we met, most of what I know is stories about what kind of man he was... and from those stories, what I know most about him is the amazing qualities he passed on to his kids. That, and he gave me the best gift I could have ever asked for, my wife.