It’s no secret, I love lighthouses. Not just because of their beauty, but because of THE Lighthouse that saved me from my sin. If I had the money to collect anything, it would be lighthouses.
On our recent vacation, we had to drive from North Georgia all the way down to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We decided to toss the Mapquest directions aside, and we purchased an atlas for our drive down. Because this was the kids’ first real vacation, we wanted to take as many opportunities as we could to show them sights and things they might never otherwise experience.
So, it was no surprise when I saw a lighthouse just a few miles out of the way that I asked hubby if we could stop. Because he’s such a wonderful man, he agreed.
We piled out of the van and headed into the gift shop. It was there that we discovered there was quite a hefty charge for us to enter the lighthouse or do any looking around. I knew we were counting every penny on this trip, so with much disappointment, I told hubby that it was OK. It was enough that we got to see the lighthouse from the outside. We didn’t need to go in.
As we were getting ready to leave, the cashier waved my husband over to her desk. “Let me help you out. I come from a big family and I know what it’s like when money is tight.” She gave us a HUGE discount and soon we were sporting our beautiful paper bracelets and heading out to the lighthouse.
Now, I don’t know what I was expecting taking seven children to the TOP of the tallest lighthouse in Florida, and the second tallest in the United States. I must have lost my mind for a moment when I thought this would be fun.
We stepped inside the lighthouse and looked up.
There were a LOT of stairs. And they just seemed to keep going up and up and up. Panic set in with a few of the kids – mostly my 9 and 10 year old sons. But, I was determined. We were going to do this.
We started making the long climb upward on the very narrow stairs. Every 20 steps or so, there was a landing so that those coming down the stairs could get past us. This made the climb a little easier, except on the two boys that were already scared out of their minds. However, the younger kids were really enjoying themselves and weren’t scared at all.
At one point, we were fairly high up into the lighthouse, and Gene, Zander, Jace, and Lucy had stopped on a landing to wait for me, Ashley, and the younger kids to catch up. Jace was in full freak-out mode at this point, and was clinging to anything he could find to hold onto for dear life. All of a sudden, Lucy stomps on the landing as hard as she could – just to freak Jace out. Boy, did it work. You could hear the roar of her laughter and Jace’s screams all throughout the lighthouse. Oh, what the other visitors must have thought.
We got one landing away from the top, and all of a sudden, *I* started to panic. I grabbed Gene and said, “I can’t do this. I need to get out now. I can’t be here.”
Now, let me tell you, when MOM freaks out, it’s not good. This caused an even worse panic in Zander and Jace. Within seconds, we were all crying and needed to find a way out.
My husband, being the loving man that he is, told me that he had made it this far, and he was going all the way to the top. So, he took Ashley, Lucy, and Parker to the very top of the lighthouse to see the sights. I stayed on the landing with the other kids and enjoyed the view from the window:
The view was just fine from where I was standing, thankyouverymuch.
After hubby came down from the very top, it was time for us to figure out how we were all going to get down. Gene picked up Carly and Gage and started to walk down the steps, and at that moment, I completely lost it. There was NO way I was going to let him carry both of my babies down those stairs at once.
There was quite a bit of debate, (and quite a few giggles from passersby), but it was decided that Ashley and Gene would take the kids down, and Gage and I would wait for Gene to come back up and help us down. I was willing to wait all day if it took all day. I knew Ashley would be fine at the bottom with the other kids, and I knew the boys would just be thankful to be out of the lighthouse.
I watched as Gene walked out of the lighthouse with all the kids, and I started to feel a little less panicked. Gage and I slowly started making the trek down the stairs, and we met Gene about halfway. He helped us get all the way down to the bottom.
Once we got down to the bottom, you should have heard the laughter that came from my entire crew. We were all so relieved to be out of there that we couldn’t help but laugh about it. That was definitely one part of our trip that we will never, ever forget. And I’m sure we will be talking about it for years to come.
What’s your funniest family vacation moment?