The day before leaving for this trip, I found myself very anxious. It’s funny how before I had kids I was ready and willing to hop on a plane anywhere and try anything. But now that I have three tiny lives who are dependent on me, I find myself much more cautious.
But, I must say, this has been an amazing trip. Yes, it’s been a vacation. I’ve been childless for an entire week for heaven’s sake! But it hasn’t been a lay-on-the-beach-and-drink-mai-tai’s-all-day-long kind of a vacation.
After seeing the work that my grandparents started 48 years ago, I feel a swell of pride bubbling inside me. To have walked the path that the grandfather I never knew walked is so special and eye opening. What they did and how they sacrificed is more than humbling. My grandparents were 33 and 31 years old when they left for the islands. Their children ranged in age from 12 to 2. And they gave themselves wholeheartedly to their mission.
And I find myself wondering – what am I doing to carry on that legacy? It’s sobering.
As we walked the streets of Kew, Bottle Creek, Lorimers, Bambarra, Conch Bar and South Caicos, we stopped and spoke with the people sitting outside (they all sit outside because my Lord it’s hot down here). All my mom had to say was “I’m Jim Cooper’s daughter,” and people would throw their heads back, grin and say “Oooooohhh, I knew your daddy.”
They remember him. After 48 years, they remember him. He died 36 years ago – but they remember him.
More than a few people told us that my granddad worked harder and accomplished more in the 12 years he spent in the islands than most people accomplish in a lifetime. “It’s as if he knew that his time on this earth would be short,” they said.
Perhaps he did – or maybe, he just understood and respected the call on his life and wasn’t afraid to tackle it with fervor.
Tonight we are back in Provo. Tomorrow will be vacation day. I’m going to park my behind on a beach chair and try and process the thoughts and emotions swirling through my overloaded brain.
I’m coming home Tuesday night and I’m so excited to see the sweet faces of my babies and hear their precious laughter. I love my kids and I can’t wait to hug their little necks. Oh, and Lee? Deep breath, babe – I’ll be home soon!