Family Vacation, Georgetown SC Historic District

About ten days before I was slated to take my first official family-of-four vacation, my older daughter got sick.  Really sick.  First,  Juniper started complaining that her throat hurt, and in the beginning, my husband and I just sort of shrugged it off.  By that time, both Juniper and Amity, our one year-old, had been sick nearly constantly since February, and we both assumed this was just another summer cold, the kind of thing that lasts three or four days and then fades away.  But this wasn’t that.  Soon, Juniper began telling us that her belly hurt, too.  And that she had to pee every five seconds—and this is not an exaggeration.  For days, she would tell us she had to pee again WHILE she was still peeing.  Over the next seven days, we spent hour upon hour in the bathroom, tried to take the edge off Juniper’s throat pain with over the counter meds, and visited the doctor’s office four times.  During three of those visits, they did throat swabs, and finally, on the third try, her test came back positive for strep. 

Only it wasn’t just any old strep.  This was that sneaking, horrifying variety of strep that infests not only the throat, but also the other delicate membranes of the body. That explained the constant need to go to the bathroom, the achy belly, and scariest of all, the completely aberrant behavior caused by the swelling of her brain’s lining. Juniper couldn’t sleep. She was paranoid. She suffered from debilitating separation anxiety. She didn’t want to eat and would fly into sudden rages we’d never seen before.  My husband and I were terrified for her. 

By day three of the antibiotics, we started to get our girl back a little bit, and all of us were able to get a little more sleep.  A few days later, we were scheduled to leave for the beach, and after some debate, we decided to keep our plans and go.  I’m so glad we did; although the sailing wasn’t exactly serene the entire time, all of us, and Juniper in particular, did a lot of healing that week. 

The house I’d rented was in Georgetown, SC, not too far from the waterfront.  We left Charlotte as early as we could and made it to our rental by early afternoon.  After a frenzied unpacking and setting-up session, we confronted the biggest question of the week—would Juniper sleep? Turns out, she did, and much better than either of us had anticipated.  Over the next seven days, we shared the house with two close sets of friends, and the week culminated with Juniper’s 3rd birthday, which she got to spend with her best friend, Maisie. 

The highlights from our trip were many.  I turned off work for a week. I slept. I got to watch my two little girls playing on the beach, and to photograph them doing so.  We took long, leisurely walks around the neighborhood, most of which were pleasantly interrupted at the midway point by a visit to one of the waterfront bars, and all of which ended with a glass of wine and full-blast air conditioning.  For a week, I stepped out of my everyday life and into the shoes of someone who could focus fully on parenting, experiencing, and relaxing.  It was wonderful, and it was exhausting. 

And now I’m home, and I’m happy to be back into the swing of things.  Most of all, I’m so grateful for how far Juniper has come in her recovery from her illness.   

I hope you like the pictures of my people.  They’re my heart, and these photos mean the world to me as a mother.    

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