A narrative about my 2 week vacation and the lessons of love and caring I was taught.

The Summer of Gratitude

A summer's ride to a beach somewhere took its toll on this freeloader, an observer of an adorable all American family from the Midwest, as we journeyed to the Atlantic Ocean beaches along the eastern shore of Central Florida.

Now there were six of us in all. Me being the outcaste; the Great Aunt who lives by herself in a small comfortable quiet apartment; the one who writes the poems and stories; the one who is just a little strange, I was invited to go along. The answer was, "Yes!" After that and a few preparatory days, the journey of a lifetime began.

I must speak first of a raven, curly, haired cherub touched by flakes of golden sun, surrounded by an angelic halo held up by devilish nubs just sprouting from this two- year-old's rounded head, which holds the brain of a princess, that belongs on a bed without one pea hidden below mattress after mattress. This beauty is Lily-Katherine. She is not more than two feet tall with olive skin and the eyes the color that sapphires yearn to be. She is independent, strong in body and in will and breathtakingly beautiful. People stop to look at her and remark about her eye-catching glamour. Her voice can be as soothing as the breath of a butterfly or as irritating as a jackhammer outside your bedroom window on Sunday morning. She loves the videos called "Baby Songs." However, she does not care to watch them in the order the director decided to play them in. She will wail until things are in the order that Lily-Katherine expects them to be. I must not forget that on this trip, I, was there when she first "pee peed" in the toilet. She is Lily-Katherine to her parents and siblings but she is Turtle Soup to me, Kac.

Now, trying to explain the skill of this young lad with the verbal artillery of articulation to blow away the most prolific lexicographer in one sentence or perhaps in mere phrases of a deeper held thought is out of this woman's reach. He is a five year old with a penchant for oratorical commentary on anything from the misbehavior of both his little sister and older brother to the speculation why Plankton from the Spongebob Squarepants cartoon has switch places with Mr. Crabs and is now owner of the secret recipe for the Crabby Paddy. He is blonde of hair, green of eyes, and narrow of body. He is an eater of chicken-only, chicken-no bun. He is a lover of "juicy." If he could figure out a way to liquefy chicken into the consistency of juice, he would never have to chew again, accept for the candy. Oh, I must mention the candy. Candy does not have to resemble, taste like, or feel like chicken. It only has to be candy. Chocolate is preferable. He shares this love with the rest of his family. I forgot to mention his name, it is Nathan Roger Farnsley but sometimes he gets the Farnsley and the Roger transposed and he is then simply Nathan Roger, meaning is last name is Roger, which it is not. And, by the way, he learned to swim in Florida just this year while playing in the pools. Another thing that needs to be said is that Nathan loves Star Wars, Power Rangers, and a vast amount of Super Heroes of which I am not acquainted. Mostly it is Star Wars and Power Rangers at the moment. Like I said he is Nathan Roger but to me, Kac, he is Armadillo.

Izaak is the big brother, age 13. He is an organizer, a teaser, a cleaner of rooms and such, an aggravator, a lover of his family, one who disrespects his family, one who follows rules, and one who breaks rules. He can be an outgoing leader of children and a charmer of adults (mostly those who are not a part of his family however). Thirteen, full of hormones, rage, conflicts, disparities, complexities and the love of his family and me, Kac. He is short and thin in stature, most handsome in his dark dreamy eyes of ebony and black hair and olive skin. He has a grin that reveals both teeth whiter than white sun-dried cotton sheets and dimples that grace his smile. He is a thinker, a believer, a fixer of electronics and a future designer of architect and anything else he wants to do. He can bring tears to your eyes or laughter to your belly. He is Izaak to his parents and siblings; he is special to me, Kac.

I am Kathy to most people I know but to those who know me as Aunt, I am Kac. Where that came from, I cannot say. I know that when I am called that, I am truly loved, adored, and admired. It is my special name. Some have outgrown calling me that, some have not, but I have never and will never outgrow loving it. I am Nana to my grandchildren, which is a love-name above even Kac. But there is something about Kac; it is mine. I know of no one else called that. Now if you do, don't tell me about it. And by all means don't tell them about me. It is a name of Respect and Royalty. "Queen Kac!" I can just here the nieces and nephews laughing over that because of my somewhat unorthodox ways of doing things. Let's just say, I am not as graceful as Grace Kelly or Princess Di, or anyone else that walks in true royalty. That's okay with me, because I can fall down a couple of concrete steps, land on my knees, skin them both plus my hand, and still deliver my nephew David's cigars in his perfect box. Well enough about me. I digress.

Speaking of David, he is my nephew by marriage. That doesn't mean anything to me; he is my nephew, period. Besides, he calls me Kac. Man, is he ever handsome! That dark hair I was mentioning before, well guess who has it. David. His eyes are green, his hair is black and he is such a cutie! He is so cute, that in order to sit beside him for a while, I puffed several cigars. YUCK! Sssh! don't tell him that. However, he did remark that I was a cigar connoisseur because I could tell which was mild, or strong, or just plain terrible. So maybe if all else fails, I will puff cigars at the world's fair for cigar smokers. Is there such a thing? He also bought me Corona's and lime. Bless his heart. Now that may have helped in the cigar puffing, I really can't say, but I know that it did not hurt. He drove us all the way down to New Smyrna Beach, Florida with babies crying, fussing, demanding, sleeping, pooping, peeing, eating, and yelling. He was either on drugs or he is part God! I believe the latter.

Now on to my sweet niece, she is Karla. She calls me Kac too. She is a beautiful person outside and inside. Especially more so now that she is carrying the new baby! She has honey hair with streaks of blonde and a trace of auburn. Her eyes are blue and sparkle. She is very intelligent and extremely patient and knowledgeable when it comes to rearing, teaching, or tolerating kids. Oh, she has her moments, but not as many as I may have had in her situation. I bow down to her restraint! She is a wonderful mother and wife, a very hard worker in the family business, Landscaping, and during the school year she finds time to teach kindergarten. My head spins just thinking about it all.
She is my baby, she and her sisters. I lived with them in Florida when I was about 20 years old. She has a twin named Krista, a sister named Jennifer, and a brother named Jay Robert. She is spectacular in her abilities to keep her sanity intact in very insane situations. I love her!

Our initial intent was to spend a week in a condo on the beach that was gotten for a very reasonable rate because in part due to my brother-n-laws connection with the owners. It was a beautiful place with a pool and sand dunes (which were not to be disturbed due to the sea turtles nesting grounds). The dunes had a walkway over them and the nesting sites were roped off. We would go to the pool and the beach each day. Some nights we ate in while other nights we went out. Occasionally, I stayed with the children while their parents could have some peace and quiet time alone. They enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. The kids enjoyed it. On Thursday before our schedule leave on Saturday, David mentioned that he would like to stay another week. Secretly, I thought, "Sure we will," in my sarcastic way. I have never had a vacation that was extended. He tried all day Friday to see if we could keep the place we were in, but alas, it was already rented. He did not give up! We ended up staying at a beautiful condominium complex called the Sandpiper. It was beyond belief! We stayed another week! I had two weeks in Florida, all paid for, in condominiums that sit right on the beach. Awesome! We saw dolphins, jumping fish, which I later found out to be mullet. Izaak and I were there when a shark took a bite out of a teenager's foot. Izaak was in the same water at the time. His Aunt Kac, moved pretty darn fast out to the area screaming all the while to get out of the water, "Shark!"

This trip was a trip of a lifetime for me. Not because of the location, but because of the people I was with. Lovely, interesting, intelligent, funny, mind-blowing people who cared enough about an aunt named Kac to invite her along and pay her way. I shall never forget each of our times alone that I spent with each person: My talk with David, my conversations about family with Karla, my learning how to be an "Air-bender and Water-bender" from Nathan, my game of playing "Riding On A Turtle's Back" with Lily and Nathan. Lily's teasing me about not being my Turtle Soup, but being her mommy's, all the while grinning that little devilish grin. One of the most emotional times was when Izaak and I had a very deep and sensitive talk about his concerns about family and behaviors.

My vacation was a dream come true for me. I only hope that I brought with me something to share with each of them. I know I brought my love and gratitude; I hope they felt them both. This vacation was an education, an inspiration, and a delightful journey with wonderful people who love. I am a better person from having spent these past two weeks with each one of them as individuals and as a family as a whole. I give them my deepest thanks and my purest love.

Kathy Lockhart

Words by Kathy Lockhart The PoetBay support member heart!
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Written on 2006-07-24 at 05:35

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The thing I feel the most after reading this, is that THIS is what memories are made FOR...chunks of time, we will always keep treasured. Beaultiful, it really was. Barbie

Oh, I loved reading about your family. I am also an aunt (though not a great-aunt yet as I'm only 15!) and I have two nephews (age 6 and 2) and a niece (age 3). It's always very special to spend time with them. I am their only aunt from their mother's side; they have two on their dad's that are almost as old as their parents. They like me best because I get the least time with them, so I'm not constantly babysitting them and telling them to stop doing that or to sit down... we just play.

I am so glad that you have a large, healthy family that you have shared with us.

this is simply divine

beautiful family you express with so much
love and how I really enjoyed your cherished moments you expressed to share with us all.what a wonderful happy FUNERAMA TIMES you surely did have!!
loved this write! :)
A bouque of hugs to you

Christian Ward
Welcome back, Kathy. I missed not having you around here.

Such a charming narrative poem, very sweet. Love the details, felt like a little trip.

Great stuff


Malin Johansson
Hey welcome back Kathy :) It sounds to me that you have had a beautiful trip for 2 weeks :)) I smiled when I read this text:))Thanks for sharing all this :))
and its good to have you back:))
Regards from Sweden :)

Oh Kathy... this is such a beautiful write. So loving, so brimming full with emotions. My regards to the wonderful family you went with. And warm loving hugs to you.

lastromantichero The PoetBay support member heart!
glad you time was so wonderful Kath and thanks for the resume of what was a wonderful time rgds mike

Welcome back Mom!!! thank's for sharing this beautiful summer of gratitude...glad that your happy too....kissess