OK, so some background information is needed for this post. So, for starters, I admit, I am a Daddy’s little girl. But I’m also my father’s “only son.” No, seriously, he’s called me that. Someone once asked him if I was his only daughter and he responded with, “no, but she’s my only son.” Anyway, part of why I his “son” is my obsession for baseball and football, specifically the Yankees and the Giants.
obsession love for the Yankees grew, I learned about Spring Training. My father had never been, and as his son, I finally gave him an excuse to go. Freshman year of college, one of my Christmas presents was a trip to Spring Training. In exchange for missing one day of classes, I had to swear no matter what I would not miss another. An excuse to go to Florida in March while it’s freezing up here AND watch baseball? I’m sold! An added perk is that the Yankees train in Tampa. My grandparents used to live in Clearwater, and Spring Training with it’s proximity allowed us to visit all the places we would go while we used to visit my grandparents. We would even bring my grandfather down with us for a couple of trips before he passed away.
We would always stay at the same hotel, making sure we always got the view of the water. We would always make a quick stop at Clearwater Beach (I think one of THE nicest beaches in the continental US). We’d always have breakfast at Perkins one of the days and pick up our mammoth muffins for the rest of the trip. And, of course, we’d always find an excuse or just plan, to spend at least 1 day in Disney World.
We are very big on tradition. We’ve been doing this tradition for 12 years.
Now, also, once upon a time, I did a study abroad program in Spain. It was the summer after my Sophomore year of college. I lived in Madrid and it was the most amazing time. Spain, Spain is my home. I have been trying to go back there since I left, but never did.
Also since I was 18, I babysat for a family. Well, technically, it was only one little girl then. Now it’s 2. I used to go on vacations with this family (and their friends) to help watch the kids. That’s right, 18, British Virgin Island for free? Yes please! These are my muchkins. Their mom is actually how I met Doug and they’re junior bridesmaids in my wedding. I mean, I’ve known them their entire lives. I’ve spent nearly every Friday and/or Saturday night with them…ok, until Doug. I digress. So, their dad is turning 50 this year. As a surprise, the mom has decided to take him to Barcelona, along with the girls and other friends. She had invited me to come with them (not Doug). I thought she was joking around at first, especially since the girls are 13 and 11, they hardly need me. But, she was serious. I was invited to come with them to spend the week in Spain, all expenses paid. OMG! How can I be so lucky?
Well, there was a catch. The week they’re going is the same exact time of my Spring Training trip. Now, because my Dad and Mom had booked a cruise out of Tampa to coordinate with the Spring Training trip, we lacked the usual flexibility of choosing our dates. What was I to do? Spain was my home! I was finally going back! And for FREE! But, my trips to Florida with my dad, they mean so much to me. I miss them during the year and can’t wait for them to arrive. We’ve been doing them for 12 years! And this year was all the more important, especially as the last year before I’m married. (Btw, I still have every intention of making these trips after I’m married.)
What to do? What do I do? I know what you’re thinking…poor me, offered a free trip to Spain and has to choose between that or a trip to Florida, if only all life decisions were so “hard.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m aware of how extremely blessed I am to have this life and to have this choice, but at the same time, this decision was too hard to make. I discussed it with Doug and with my Dad. The result was I decided to go to Spain. It was just too much of a once in a lifetime opportunity to pass up. But my heart is aching right now. I leave for Spain on Sunday. I would’ve been leaving for Florida on Friday. The memories, the time, the moments, the places, I know Spain will be amazing, but I can’t help but wish I was going to Spring Training.