Ah, the time had come.
Jared planned a Babymoon for us to get away before the busyness of the fall and the holidays kept us homebound. We had been debating if we should go away for a few days for reflection and connection as we celebrated our almost two years with Olivia and prepared for our next little one to arrive. We decided in the hustle and bustle of daily life that, yes, we needed a few days away together. Once Jared booked the flights and hotel, I could feel my excitement rising.
I dreamt of sleeping in without having to bound out of bed to a work schedule and an energetic toddler. I visualized myself on the pool chair, losing myself in a book for hours and not feeling guilty. I couldn’t wait to sit over a meal with Jared and not have to coax a toddler to eat her peas all the while. For this tired mom, it sounded like heaven.
For the record, I have loved being a mom. There are parts of it that are exactly what I envisioned it being all those years ago. But there have also been some extremely difficult moments when I realized that motherhood is much harder than I expected. Days when I have had to give up everything I want to do for the sake of my daughter. And I’ll be honest, I haven’t always sacrificed with a willing spirit. Sometimes it’s been with a grumpy heart, wishing I just had some time for me.
So needless to say, this gift my husband was giving me of three and a half days on the beach sounded blissful.
The date finally arrived and we woke up at 3:30am to begin our long day of travel. Even that crazy hour for this non-morning person couldn’t dampen my mood. We were ready. We were packed. The grandparents were in charge and the typed directions for Olivia’s every hour were laid on the counter.
I should mention that during the week leading up to the trip, the weather presented us with a potential snafu to literally rain on our parade. A tropical storm was churning in the Pacific Ocean and threatening our sun-filled paradise vacation in Cabo. Jared and I prayed and discussed the options, wanting to make sure we weren’t forging ahead with our plans if it wasn’t the best plan or what God had in mind. But after praying, discussing, studying the weather reports and weighing the cost to rebook the trip, we decided we felt comfortable continuing on with our vacation plans. We stuck in a puzzle and extra books in our suitcase in case it rained most of the time. But even that sounded like a vacation because it just meant more sleep and down time for two exhausted parents.
On our layover in Dallas, we checked the weather again and were pleased to hear that the tropical storm was downgraded even more and it seemed to be no threat. When the hotel worker picked us up from the airport, even he mentioned how in Cabo they experienced tropical storms all of the time and it only rained for a brief part of the day and then the sun returned. Ah, exactly what we needed to hear. See, the weather forecasters were creating drama where there wasn’t any!
Arriving at our hotel and breathing in the salt from the ocean brought instant peace to my tired soul. I couldn’t believe I was actually in paradise and given four whole days to unwind. Jared and I didn’t waste much time changing into our swimsuits and heading down to the gorgeous pool. We laid on the towel-covered lounge chairs for several hours reading our books and letting the stress of every day life begin to seep out of us.
After showering and watching a little of the football game (okay, so I didn’t exactly watch it but it was on and I sat next to Jared reading my book as he watched it!), we decided to head to dinner. It was tempting to just order room service since we had been awake since 3:30am after a full day of travel, but we decided that since it could rain the rest of the time, we wanted to eat dinner at the hotel’s restaurant overlooking the ocean.
The view was amazing and even though I was more tired than I would have liked to truly soak in the beautiful scenery and special company, it was still a wonderful time. Adult conversation, beautiful views, and no toddler battles!
The next morning, I woke up really early, much to my dismay. My internal mommy clock was programmed for 7:00am whether I liked it or not. I crept out to the patio of our room while Jared slept and took in the beautiful view. The clouds had set in and the waves seemed higher than before, which disappointed me for a few minutes because I realized that maybe a storm really was approaching. But I didn’t let myself feel discouraged for too long because I knew I was so blessed to be away even if the rain did come.
Jared and I enjoyed the morning with a delicious breakfast overlooking the crashing waves and then a walk on a path by the ocean. We took pictures of the big waves and marveled at how stirred up the ocean seemed, but we weren’t really fazed because we didn’t have a context for how it was when the seas were calm. We even sent pictures to our parents, trying to reassure them not to worry about us. Everything is fine here, Mom and Dad!
We headed back to our hotel room to change into our swimsuits for another day at the pool (though we knew we would likely get more clouds than sun). While we were getting ready to leave, the hotel concierge called to tell us that because the storm was coming, we needed to make sure we were back in our room by 1:00pm.
No problem, we thought.
Down at the pool, we watched how high the waves climbed before crashing down on the shore. “Wow, we’ve never seen waves this high, “ Jared and I said to each other. Even though the waves looked fierce and the sky looked ominous, I still didn’t feel overly worried about the impending storm. As we had walked down to the pool, I asked a hotel worker about the storm and he said, “A little rain and a little wind.” Okay, sounds good to me. Even though out of the corner of my eye, I watched as the hotel workers surrounded the perimeter of the pool with sandbags, I decided they must be preparing for the worst-case scenario. (Ignorance is bliss, isn’t it?)
As we stood in the pool marveling at the waves with some of the other hotel guests, the sprinkles turned to rain. We could tell the skies were about to let loose, so we hurriedly grabbed our things and started up the path to our room. Just as we suspected, the rain turned to a downpour with heavy winds. We made it to our room just as it began intensely blowing.
The rain pelted the windows sideways and seeped under the doors. I looked at Jared with big eyes that said, “Wow, this is not just a little rain shower.” Just then, water began dripping through our thatched roof and Jared and I scrambled to find trash cans and glasses to catch the drips.
The phone rang and interrupted our scrambling.
Jared hardly said hello before the concierge blurted out, “Hi Mr. Warner, we have decided to evacuate the hotel.”
“Ok, where will we be going for the night?” Jared and I had embraced the possibility over the last few minutes that maybe we’d have to go a safer place for the night while the storm blew over.
“Well, we have decided to send our guests on a bus to San Diego…It will be a 24 hour bus ride.”
You can imagine our disbelief. A whole day’s worth of driving to evacuate this silly rainstorm? That seemed a little extreme.
“Well, I don’t think we are ready to do that. Let us know if any other options arise.”
We hung up the phone thinking how crazy it was that the hotel’s only option was to bus us 24 hours away. From all they had told us up until this point, this tropical storm was going to blow in and blow out. Why did we have to evacuate 24 hours away and incur plane charges and a blown vacation (literally!) when the storm would be gone before we even made it to our destination?
Regardless, we realized we would be leaving our room for the night so I started collecting my things, stuffing everything back in my suitcase, and praying for wisdom about what to do. Jared and I prayed together that God would direct us and make it clear what we should do. We didn’t want to be so stuck on our own plan that we placed ourselves (and unborn baby) in danger.
Not ten minutes later, a knock came to the door. One of the hotel workers wanted to talk to us about evacuating. I was trying to be patient as I listened to him talk and then my ears perked up when he said, “Mr. and Mrs. Warner, this is the worst hurricane that will have ever hit Cabo. A Category Two once hit us and it knocked out the bridge to get to the airport. They are now saying this will be a Category Four, I think this one could be really bad.”
For the first time, the gravity of the situation began to hit us and we realized there was no other choice but to board the bus. I didn’t know anything about hurricanes, but I knew enough to know I did not want to be overlooking the ocean in a Category Four hurricane. We hurriedly packed the rest of the room and walked down to the bus meeting area. While the rain had stopped for a while, it picked up again on our walk. We stood in the rain holding our luggage as we waited to board the bus, smirking at each other because we knew we better just laugh at the blunder or our Babymoon.
It wasn’t until we were settled onto the bus that the realization of all that had transpired hit me. The next day of my vacation was going to be spent on a crowded bus rather than a spacious resort. It felt a little cruel and I’ll admit that I let myself cry for a few minutes, processing the dichotomy of my reality to our heavenly vacation and the 27 hours we were fortunate to experience.
But thankfully I married a husband who not only has a level head but also strives to hear from God and keep perspective. We shared many conversations over the next few hours about the situation. (Nothing like being forced to sit next to each other with no cell service and not much else to do to encourage good communication!) Yes, it was a bummer that our babymoon was hijacked by a hurricane, but it felt quite entitled to stay there too long when people were in danger, losing their homes, and stuck in Cabo for days on end. And not to mention, we knew that we were blessed that we were even able to go on vacation.
And if we needed more perspective, our trip from Cabo to San Diego took us through the desolate desert. The shacks (literally) that people lived in reminded us that there was an entire other world out there whose biggest problem that day wasn’t that they had to leave their resort and ride on a chartered bus. Sometimes opening my eyes to see the bigger world is all I need to jolt me back into perspective.
We thankfully had left Cabo four hours before the hurricane so though it was a little tense as we drove, we finally outran the storm. We made it to a remote gas station in the middle of the desert at 7:00am, twelve hours later. Jared waited until then to mention how thankful he was that we didn’t encounter any safety problems through the night–something I hadn’t considered, and boy, am I glad because I didn’t need any help imagining a frightening situation.
[the bathroom at the gas station we stopped at.]
The rest of the trip was long (we had to stop six times for the Federales [Mexican army] to search our bus and bags), but thankfully uneventful. We kept hearing reports of visitors stuck in Cabo and hotel workers’ homes destroyed. What started as frustration to have to change our vacation plans turned into gratitude that we made it out of Cabo safely.
Not to mention we still had homes to return to. And so many other blessings to list.
It’s been two months since our Cabo adventure, and Jared and I are still processing the lessons we learned. One of the biggest take-aways for me was that though I desired a relaxing vacation way from the stress of life for a few days, God wanted instead to expand our view beyond our little worlds. It’s another reminder to me that though we may picture life going one way, God may envision it going another to grow us or teach us more about ourselves or Himself. It’s not always pretty, and thinking back to my cancer situation, it’s not always enjoyable, but I am learning the key lies in changing my perspective and opening up my heart to what He is trying to accomplish. When I shift my view from myself and onto what He is doing, I gain a peace that doesn’t come from anywhere else. Not a perfect vacation. Or perfect health. Or a perfect marriage.
And along with that nugget, God also reminded me that I can’t see the full picture, only He can. His hand of protection was totally upon us, and how grateful we were (although maybe more in hindsight). Jared and I have been learning the lesson of gratitude and this was another reminder to truly thank God for the ways He has protected us and led us, even if it wasn’t exactly how we wanted it to go. I am learning that sometimes I must choose gratitude rather than wait to feel it. As I choose to be grateful, slowly the feelings come and my eyes are opened to all of the blessings I have.
Although our Babymoon wasn’t the perfect paradise that I dreamt about, it bonded Jared and I closer together in our marriage and taught us a deeper lesson about gratitude. All in all, quite a blessing.
As we mulled all of this over while eating dinner in San Diego, rain began drizzling from out of nowhere. We laughed and joked about the rain following us wherever we went, but then God painted the most beautiful double rainbow in front of my eyes and reminded me how much He was with us and providing for us. It was the most fitting end to quite a Babymoon adventure.