Imaginative adventures commonly come to mind when one considers Florida and the potential experience of Disney World.  In our exploring, I personally thought that Lego land rivaled Epcot. We’d enjoy the scrumptious apple fries a few times, admire the Lego animals, giggle at the pirate water ski show and run through the park in the rain.

There was a tiny anole climbing up the flag in the miniature Fallen Soldiers Monument. These little lizards were a constant on our Floridian adventure. Brier caught Statchel [stayt-chel], like Rachel, but beginning with state because of all the states we passed through. Statchel was fed mangoes, lost in the van for a leg of the trip, but don’t worry, was eventually released.

My mother and I of course ventured off into the neighboring Cypress garden; Enchanting gardens never fail to find us on our travels. The placard of this gorgeous statue of St. Francis in front of the Banyan tree read, “The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth, you are nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on Earth.”

My mother’s friend Joe offered us another opportunity to get out on the water, the Chassahowitzska River, which we could not refuse. His sparkly aqua blue boat the size of a large bathtub was once used in a clown water show at Cypress Gardens and in two trips he’d take us back to a warm water spring, the Blue Hole. Arriving at low tide the boats bottom scraped along the rocky floor; I’d lean over and peer into the crystal clear cerulean blue spring with fish swimming in its darkening depths. Within the surrounding forest we’d spot a Woodpecker, Palm, Cypress and Orange trees, from which the oranges were crazy bitter. My stepfather, Mikey carried me over to the water’s edge where I sat perched up on some mossy roots. I sat observing; wide eyed at the sight of flying fish and marveled at the thought of the caverns beneath the aquifer.  We were about to be swept away in hysterics while watching our mother and little brother venture in and brave swimming in the spring. Seeing them teeter out it was only a matter of time before someone fell, eventually my little brother Brier pushed my mom in and we just about died of laughter!

We’d discuss at a Waffle house how the entire trip had nearly passed and we’d barely even been to see the ocean and although on a dreary day it was crucial we’d explore Cocoa beach on our way out.

We’d spend at least an hour browsing the largest Ron Jon surf shop. I’d consider the boardwalk at Alan Shepard park across the street quite possibly the last opportunity of endurance before the ride home and quickly race to its end. I’d stop to collect long spears of Mother-in-Law’s Tongue to propagate when I got home and wound up sword fighting Brier with them. We’d stop into a nearby restaurant for regional appetizers of fried gator, conch fritters, tuna carpaccio and a very necessary cup of hot tea.

At the end of the Cocoa beach pier we’d gaze out across a dull grey sky and an equally enigmatic ocean; the last of our relative escape from winter. Down on the beach, our diehard brave little bro went skim boarding. Jo and I would fly these lovely little wild flying kites. While collecting the tiniest sea shells underneath the pier I stopped on the wet sand for a second, allowed the tide to roll through my wheels twice and I was swallowed by the sand. Hahaha… My family thought it was just hilarious as I became stuck. They really made up for their laughter in kindly helping me to shower off my chair and WD40 my wheels. I am grateful of all the ways in which they kindly help me and the opportunity to ride along such a journey.

In a blended family, there’s never a dull moment. On the ride home we’d stop in North Carolina to see my sister Amanda and her boyfriend, both expecting little baby Owen. Rubbing my hand over and resting my head on her sweet lil’ belly I just smiled, as I’m so thrilled to be an auntie!

These lives we’re living, lives beginning; the beauty of this journey is beyond compare.