Filled with Gratitude and Joy

At what age do you stop crying when you leave your parents? Asking for a friend, of course.

Time doesn’t make the distance any easier, and spending 15 hours in a car each way doesn’t get anymore enjoyable, but spending Thanksgiving with my parents was well worth the long drive, the traffic, a cracked windshield and stiff legs.

My mama and I started Turkey Day off with a Turkey Trot around Amelia Island Plantation – one of my favorite places to be. That 60 degree weather we haven’t seen in PA in a while had me sweating up a storm! Meanwhile, my mother wore a sweatshirt for the entire race.

Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one tradition I never skip. And for the first time in a very long time, we got to go shopping together that evening! The girls, that is. The boys stayed home… probably checking the bank account every five minutes.

We started Black Friday off with mimosas at the cutest little wine bar. Downtown Fernandina Beach has an annual Christmas pajama party and it was fun seeing everyone all decked out, ready for the holidays and supporting small businesses. We strolled along the historic streets, had good food and shopped until nap time.

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Friday evening was also full of festivities – the annual tree lighting on the Plantation. So many families came out to kickstart the holidays. There were games, s’mores, lights, Santa and Mrs. Claus and a shrimp boil.

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Saturday was a beautiful day. I had Mickey waffles for breakfast, because my dad is the best, before heading over to the Holiday Cookie Pop-Up Shop benefitting Feeding America. Local pastry chefs made some interesting cookies and of course we had to buy a few.

We walked over to the beach and I can’t explain to you how good it feels to stand, toes in the sand, looking at the sun, letting the breeze blow through your hair while lightly tasting salt in the air. It’s a sense of relaxation and relief – a sense of home. It’s hard to put into words how special of a place Amelia Island and its people are, but it’s something I miss regularly.

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We finished our trip eating at my favorite Mexican restaurant before driving through a neighborhood that’s well-known for being all decked out for Christmas and would be sure to warm any Grinch’s heart.

So here’s until the next time I get to experience island life and visit my parents home. Until then, I’ll be picking up the seashells randomly placed throughout my house, holding them up to my ear and listening to the ocean waves.

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