|Welcome to SW Florida!|
That is the definition of my happy place. The spot on the map where it is always sunny. Always fun. Always no physics. Or math. Or tests. The place where I get to be the best version of me – and in 1987, that meant me + make-up + getting to go out with her older and very popular sister every night to a disco club! Careless Whispers. Eighties rocked!!!
With the arrival of Thing 1 and Thing 2, life became much gentler and time stretched more generously. Amazingly, when I least expected it, the happy place ended up finding me.
It all started with spending big chunks of my maternity leave in the sunny state. When every street has either a coconut or a flamingo in it, life undoubtedly gets happier.
Coincidentally, we get to attract other animals too, so we have seen our fair share of turtles.There are protected nests along the beach from April through October and I love how careful my little boys are around them,
Back at home, we found a snake at our doorstep and after nudging her to move away into the garden with a water gun, we named her Bella. Both Bella and Gerry provided their fair share of adrenaline rush, so forgive me for not having the photos to share. Gerry is our lizard, dark in colour and neurotic in behaviour, who managed to hitch a ride into our home in a croc-shoe one of the kids had recklessly left outside, only to send me - the responsible parent – into combat mode with a wooden blood orange crate in one hand and a Swiffer wet jet in another.
It took a while, but Gerry finally obliged, darting out the front door a few seconds before I slammed it shut, sliding exhausted onto the cool tile floor. Then while power-walking my favourite trail in order to relax, I met a 4-foot alligator that moved in to our deep lakes full of fish in search of a buffet-style meal. The thing with alligators that I tend to remember is that I am 'on their turf', not vice versa - so I feel privileged that I can witness their jaw-dropping presence and feel close with nature while watching my every step. And it is much the same with many animal sightings: they simply take your breath away, like the one time a whole flock of white pelicans invaded our lake.
|Ferns, moss' and palm trees|
|Babcock Wildernes Park|
The sunny state is also the only place on earth where I will by-pass my teenage propensity for sleeping in late in order to capture the rare opportunity for an early morning quiet time. My spiritual practice. Intention setting. And exercise!
|Toddler to Teen|
A welcome home-made clown parade even at meal-times and no matter the age!