• Remaining Positive During Our First Family Vacation without My Mom

  • It was inevitable, at some point, we were going to likely take a family vacation after my mom’s death. But how would it be different? Would it be different? Would it even be fun? I mean, let’s be honest, I have an awesome family, but Ronda knew how to bring another level of “fun” to every moment in life, especially family vacations!


    Growing up, we went on a family vacation every year. From Memphis, TN visiting my mom’s icon, Elvis Presley’s home to New York finding our place at the tennis courts of Flushing watching our tennis icons such as Andy Roddick, Serena Williams, James Blake and on and on… One thing was consistent on all family vacations – we had a blast! Oh…and my brother always found some sort of shortcut no matter where we were…I guess that makes it two things that were always consistent. J


    Our next family vacation? Vegas, baby! This has been in the planning stages for years! 15 years ago, we went to Vegas for my 21st birthday. We later decided that when my cousin, Zach, turned 21, we would go back to see the fountains at Bellagio, drink a few beers (okay a lot), and avoid the “card slappers” (you know who I am talking about) on the strip, and do it all again!


    Why not? The first trip proved to be a success (from what I can remember)! My favorite memory that year was the simple act of sitting with my mom and my aunt at some bar in one of the casinos just drinking and laughing waiting to meet up with the rest of the family who was off gambling! I remember my mom dancing in the bar (now this wasn’t really a dancing-type place, but she didn’t care)…she tapped her feet back and forth with her arm in the air giving it her best fist pump while yelling “woot woot!” Most 21-year-olds might have been embarrassed, but this is what I loved so much about my mom. She was always in for a good time! So, I joined her!


    But what would I do this year without someone to dance with? Without someone who would bring fun to each moment? Would I miss her? Or worse yet – what if I had so much fun that I didn’t even think about her? Was that even possible?


    Turns out that was so far from the truth. As with every day of my life, she is always on my mind. I can picture her in every situation and know exactly what she would be doing! As I sat with my brother at the Cirque de Soleil Beatle’s Love show, I saw her standing up doing the “twist and shout” during that song. While with my aunt and dad at the Reba and Brooks & Dunn concert, I pictured her giving her best fist pump once again and a big “woot woot” during the “Boot Scootin’ Boogie!”


    I was overwhelmed with emotion – something that is so new to me, but missing my mom simply is not easy. Not sure it ever will be, but picturing her in every significant event in my life gives me comfort.


    While a family vacation will never be the same without my mom, I believe that her positivity and sheer happiness from all the prior vacations will last me a lifetime of happiness for future vacations!