I came here to post something happy and exciting and now I'm crying. Dang it, eyeballs!
Long story short, and let's just get the justified feelings of jelusbitchpants out of the way: We're going back to Jamaica next month. Back to Bluefields Bay Villas. We went there four years ago, had the most unbelievable time, I blogged about it, and afterwards a whole bunch of you guys also decided to go there (and were nice enough to mention that you found them through my blog).
I've stayed in touch with the owners off and on, and they've always been super-nice and open to the idea of us returning, but I always felt weird about specifically asking, like I was being grabby and inviting myself, until finally they called me and were like, "YO. STOP BEING A DORK. HOW'S THIS JUNE?"
So that happened, but that's not why I'm crying.
After we settled on dates and I booked our flight (full disclosure: Bluefields is covering the all-inclusive accommodations, we pay for our airfare, I receive no additional monetary compensation for posting, and everything I choose to post is my own and not being reviewed or influenced, yadda yadda), I asked the kids what they thought about going back to Jamaica.
Noah: JAMAICA? WE'RE GOING BACK TO JAMAICA? FINALLY! IT'S MY FAVORITE PLACE EVER!
(He's been begging to go for years. Ever since we got back, basically. And yes, he talks in caps lock just.like.that.)
Ezra: JAMAICA? JAMAICA! I'm not 100% sure I know what we're talking about because I was only 15 months old, but I am nonetheless VERY EXCITED ABOUT HOW EXCITED WE ALL ARE ABOUT THIS!
(He did weirdly follow-up with a question about fruit. Would there would be a lot of fruit? Which...yes. There WAS a lot of fruit, delicious fresh tropical fruit at every meal and snack, and Ezra probably ate four metric tons of it. He'd toddle into the villa's kitchen and beg for it, and everybody took to feeding him treats of fruit like a squishy little puppy. If he DOES have any vague memories of Jamaica, I guess it makes sense that they would all be fruit related.)
(Oh. And he's already told me he's packing his little chef costume because he wants to cook with the villa's personal chef. PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR THE ADORABLENESS.)
Ike: I wasn't born yet, idiots. But please tell me more about this fruit. It sounds FASCINATING.
Noah's memories are much more vivid, and that's how I got into this ugly-cry mess, because I went back into the archives to read about the things he remembers and look at the photos. And then I remembered what an amazing turning point that trip was for him. And me. Both of us.
We lost our Wizard of Oz DVD somewhere on the return flight home, but Noah still remembers pretending the paths around the property were the Yellow Brick Road, and that the gardens were the Emerald City. He remembers the pools and the small beach with its own beach toys and playing with the local children and the hammocks and how you're not supposed to throw toys out the wide open windows, EZRA. He remembers the nice man who climbed up the hill outside to retrieve the toys for us.
He remembers the calm ocean, with no waves.
He doesn't necessarily remember how scared he was of the calm ocean at first, and how we conquered those fears together. Or how he actively sought out the company of other children to play with, something we'd never witnessed before. How he talked more, laughed more. How his rigidity vanished and his imagination soared to new heights.
He doesn't remember that he came back and drew his very first original drawings of our house and the one in Jamaica.
But I do. I still have them.
I can't wait to see what souvenirs we bring back this time.