Our lives are the ultimate gift. Just being alive is a one in many billions opportunity. With all that we experience in life, it becomes even more special. You add in the opportunity to eat flavorful and interesting cuisine. You add in the opportunity to meet some of the most genuine people. You add in the opportunity to see the raw beauty of mother nature. All of that plus more makes life one of the greatest experiences we could ever have. And that includes the bad times as well. We learn just as much if not more when we go through those tough times. And right now all we know is this life. So all we can do is enjoy the experience we’ve been giving.
And one way we find lots of happiness in life is through the people we experience it with. In particular, family often makes life a much more enjoyable experience. Sometimes they don’t. And that’s normal too. But over our lifespans many of us will find that our families help us grow and blossom into better versions of ourselves regardless of how they inspire that change. And sadly some of us don’t have the normal sense of family. But even without blood relations we often make strong connections with people that are family in our sense of the word. We just have to learn to be grateful of the families we have regardless of what it looks like. You have to cherish the good times with family because they mean more than we know. So what is the most enjoyable thing your family has done together in the last three years?
Here’s a short story on what the most enjoyable thing my family has done together in the last three years.
Dwayne and I clicked through photos searching and scanning for any flaws. There had to be something. The living room looked lavish. The bedrooms looked comfy and enjoyable. And of course the pool and amenities were great. I was shocked just seeing how many different things were in this one house. I’d never even heard of vacation homes before this date. Dwayne did all the digging to find the perfect house. And after an hour of scouring over the same thirty photos we came to a conclusion. It was the perfect house. I glanced down at the price tag for the two weeks. It read, “$5,000”. I looked over at Dwayne and asked him if he was sure. “Are we really doing this thing, bro?” He said yes. I took a big swallow and clicked the purchase button.
We were going to throw the family retreat of our dreams. It was four plus years in the making. We had been thinking about this event since the beginning of Sparketh. It was such a great dream but always right out of reach. But this year, we were going to make it happen. I got goosebumps just thinking about the next few days. It was set in stone. Nobody was going to stop this event from happening. That’s just the way we work. When Dwayne and I put our minds to something, we don’t let up until it comes to life. It took a lot longer than we expected but we made it happen. And the moment we made that five grand purchase, we knew the deal was sealed. My mind was racing every night as I laid in bed.
But we had nothing planned. We bought the place. We had an idea of what we wanted to happen. It was going to be the most epic and memorable event of the next few years. But we were three months away from December and all we knew was where we would be staying. So Dwayne and I got to work. We drafted up a list of all the family we were inviting to the event. We had at least twenty four spots. So we split down the middle, twelve each. I picked all my immediate family members that I felt needed to spend more time together. He did the same. And we got straight to work on the invites. A week or so later we weren’t much better off. We had a guest list and the location. Regardless, we sent out the invites.
It felt great. The text and emails started coming in over the next days. “This looks great Tim!” or “Wow, I’m so excited to come!”. And that was just the invites. I couldn’t wait for them to actually see this mansion! As the weeks went by the rsvp’s filled up. Everyone was ecstatic and thoroughly surprised. About three weeks out, I looked at my list and noticed three people didn’t rsvp. It was my grandma, my aunt, and my other aunt. I called all of them to talk. They said they couldn’t make because of work or graduations. I was upset. I called them back. I told them how important this event was to me. I begged. I pleaded. I cried. Not even my grandma said she’d make it. I was broken.
The morning of the retreat I woke up sad and depressed. “What’s the point of a family retreat without any family?” Some of the most important people we’re missing. I didn’t want to go. DeAsia and my mom told me to just make the most of it. They saw the distraught in my face. By the time I was in the building with all my other family members I forgot about everything. We sang karaoke all night. We played board games together. We hung out in the pool. We ate amazing food. We played a huge game of laser tag. And we basically took over an entire movie theater. It was amazing. It was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done with my family before. And to think I wasn’t even going to show up to my own event.
I realized that we have to make the most of the moments we have with family when we have them. It would of been great having all the family under one roof but life doesn’t always go smoothly. We all had a blast at that retreat and enjoyed ourselves. I wouldn’t give it up for the world. When I sat down with my aunt’s and grandma I was able to honestly explain how much I missed their presence at the event. And we talked it out. A few months later we all went to Jamaica for two weeks on summer vacation. It was a blast. So many amazing memories and moments spent with every last one of them. And pretty much everyone made it to Jamaica that time. I will cherish all those special moments from the retreat and Jamaica for the next three years and beyond.
I love all my family. That includes you. We’re not perfect, but we always strive to be.
P.S. – Bonus for making it to the end. Here’s the recap video!