April Jeppson: The ocean was calling me again this week

Published 8:45 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

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Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I’m sipping hot cocoa on the balcony of a fifth-floor condo. This has been our home for the week, and a glorious home it has been. As a stay-at-home parent for many years, I couldn’t afford to go anywhere over spring break. Honestly, I had no desire to go anywhere, being lazy at home with my kids or visiting my folks for a couple days was all I wanted.

April Jeppson

In 2019 I went back to work full time and then when 2020 happened, well, everything changed. So entering 2021, we are now a two-income home and just like everyone in the world we are chomping at the bit to get out of the house. I was craving the ocean and although I wasn’t sure where we were going, I knew we were going somewhere with a view.

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A family of five is a beautiful thing, unless you’re buying plane tickets on a budget. To fly to any oceanic destination would have doubled the cost of our adventure. Although we made more money, I still possessed the frugal mindset that protected us for so many years. So I needed to find somewhere close enough to drive.

Looking at a map, thinking about the places I’d visited before and still being leary about being around too many people (remember it was March of 2021), I settled on a little island called Okaloosa. There is nothing here over seven stories tall, which means the beaches and hallways aren’t as cramped as the neighboring Destin. We loved it so much that we came back the following year. If my nephew hadn’t been graduating high school, we probably would have come here last year as well.

However, it’s always been a goal of mine to take my children out to our nation’s capital, so I’m fine with how 2023 turned out.

That’s the struggle isn’t it? You really only have so many opportunities to do things with your children. I go through life doing this or that, and then I do the math and realize I only have three more spring breaks with my son before he graduates. So now I find myself sitting here and resisting the urge to crawl into his bed and snuggle.

Well I’ll resist until I finish this column, then I make no promises after that.

Many years ago my husband and I took a trip with my parents, my brother, his wife and their son to Destin. Brian and I took a day trip together and visited this alligator-themed restaurant called Fudpuckers. So on our first trip down here, we were excited to introduce our children to this quirky tourist attraction. This quickly became a must-visit location since, and today’s the day we continue with the tradition.

My hot chocolate is gone and in three years, my son will be too. Heck, in a few days we’ll all be gone — I don’t mean to rush, but I have some snuggling and beach walking to do. I hope you all have a wonderful week and I’ll catch up with you in a few days. Bye!

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.