Vacations at the beach with my children, to me, meant. lazy mornings, big breakfasts, longs days in the sun, big dinners and cocktails, maybe a night out or kite flying, walks on the beach or the amusement park, ice cream, miniature golf and no TV. It was for decompressing and reading and sun tan lotion and Aloe Vera for the inevitable sunburn. It was the smell of coffee and coconut and sand in your bathing suit bottoms. It was lighter hair, darker skin and a slower pace. I should have run that by Jolly Guy before we left for vacation. His idea was very different than mine. His vacation at the beach with his kids was filled with movement; the TV on from the minute someone woke up, constantly on the go. Swimming, boating, surfing, eating out, bars, fishing and the next bigger, bader, more expensive thing. Constantly occupying every second of the day with another thing to do. Food, ice cream, candy, drinks, movies, etc. It was not bad, it was just different. We went with two other families. Now I’ve gone on vacation with other families before, so in my head I thought that we would be spending most of our time together. Group seating at the beach with kids running around or sun tanning. Big dinners together with food and fun and laughter flowing. We barely saw either of the other families. Maybe it was because the “togetherness” was not what they had wanted, or the tension from our family drew them away. I didn’t blame them, but wasn’t sure why we only saw them in passing. Over and over again in my head I would think “Why did we need to come on this vacation with everyone when we aren’t seeing anyone?” That question was never directly asked nor directly answered and that’s how it was left. We did our own thing. Our own thing consisted mostly of arguing about what we were going to do. Then the dreaded night-time would come and all the kids thought they were twenty-seven and could do whatever they wanted. They wanted to be up all night, lay in bed all day, ask what we were eating around every corner. They weren’t all that thrilled to be there together. I’m not sure if it was just all too soon, I can only imagine it was. I spent a lot of time on the balcony reading alone. It was comforting and relaxing and it took me to another place. Anywhere would have been better than there. Don’t get me wrong, the place was gorgeous and there was a ton of things to do and I was really trying in my brain to make it wonderful, but the tiny voice in my head kept telling me to “Stop pretending” I could hear it begin to yell at me one afternoon when Jolly Guy and I argued over the events of the night before. I didn’t care if the kids stayed up all night, we were on vacation. He thought it was awful and wanted his kids to stay away from my kids. I could feel the divide happening. He would go to his corner, I would go to my corner and our kids would choose sides. Obviously my children would choose me, his children would choose him and everyone would be at odds. No wonder the other two families didn’t want to be around us. I barely wanted to be around us. The week was rushing by quickly thank god and the second to last night was my older daughter’s birthday. That was the best night of the whole trip. All three families went out to dinner together, went for ice cream and went go carting. Everyone had fun. Everyone was all smiles and there wasn’t one argument. It was like the world shifted that day in our favor. We hugged, kissed, held hands, the kids laughed, true, happy, belly laughs, Jolly Guy and I had sex that night for the first time in three months. I went to sleep happy that night. I went to sleep content that night. What a difference a day makes. I remember that night like it was yesterday. It was one of those days you remember because the feeling was so good. I had no idea the horror that would come, just one day later The world can change in the blink of an eye.