On Not Wasting Time

posted by Momo Fali on December 18, 2012

It’s been eight days since I posted here. A lot can happen in eight days. A lot can happen in an instant.

Almost 10 months ago we had a vacation planned that was intended to be more of a celebration of life than it was rest and relaxation. That trip was canceled at the last minute because my son got sick; months worth of planning changed in a matter of hours.

Last month, when my cousin fell ill and passed away, we were determined to finish what we had started. Despite my anxiety and complete lack of risk-taking behavior *holds Zoloft tightly in hand*, I felt like it was never more important to get my kids on a plane and head off to do things they, and I, have never done.

When I heard the news of the Sandy Hook tragedy, my family and I were halfway through a visit to Key West. One minute I was sharing photos of tropical drinks on Facebook and the next I was crying in the middle of a restaurant. I didn’t want to scare my kids too badly, so I waited until they were asleep before I got on my phone and scrolled through the news. That’s when I found out that fellow blogger, Victoria, lost her nephew in this senseless act of violence.

Victoria, me and Maria in happy times. Photo by Mishelle Lane Photography.

I had tried to keep the pain at bay by distancing myself from the news, but it was no longer possible to do so. I knew someone who was directly impacted. I was connected. As my children slept, I hugged them, kissed them, and prayed for the parents who couldn’t do such things anymore. I cried for Victoria and for her family.

I didn’t watch the news on Saturday or Sunday. Instead, we did what we originally intended to do – we celebrated. When I wasn’t holding my kids tight, burying my nose into their saltwater-scented hair, and being thankful to have them near, I was watching them live the heck out of life. I have another entire post on the generosity that made all of this possible. For now, just know that my heart hurts from the goodness of it all.

We went parasailing.

This is two of us waaaaay out there. Tandem parasailing – www.keywestsebago.com

Then, while my husband and daughter stayed with the Sebago crew and went snorkeling, my son and I rode six miles out to sea on Fury’s glass bottom boat to view the world’s third largest coral reef.

This was right before I turned around and yelled, “I’m the Queen of the World!”

Glass Bottom Boat – www.furycat.com

And if I had a waterproof camera I would show you the pictures of us on Barefoot Billy’s jet-skis in the Atlantic Ocean. This is where my anxiety took a back seat to pure enjoyment of life. I had so much fun jumping over waves that my daughter was holding tight to my waist yelling, “Mom! You’re CRAZY!” It was such an amazing moment that I couldn’t tell if my face was moistened by the ocean mist or my tears; maybe it was a little of both.

But, it didn’t end there. We went on a nighttime scavenger hunt, collected seashells and splashed around in the pool.

We fed sharks, we played chess, we bellied up to a few bars and we watched the sun set.

Feeding sharks at www.keywestaquarium.com

Ordering a Roy Rogers at the Hog’s Breath Saloon

I learned that it’s okay to take risks, that if your teen daughter is really happy she might even hold your hand, and more than anything I learned to never, ever take my children for granted again.


  • Zak

    Thank you for writing this, I’m glad you had a good trip. Life is just too damn short. xx

  • Toni

    You did exactly what you were supposed to do, I’m very proud of you! My heart goes out to your friend, and everyone affected, which really is everyone but some tragically so much more than others. Much Love, XO Toni

    • Momo Fali

      Toni, I cry every time I think of the organization and planning that you put into this experience for us. You, and Key West, have fans for life!

  • Arnebya

    That taking for granted part (the kids, the ability to vacation, the ability to ANYTHING), is what I am constantly reminding myself of since Friday. I yelled at the boy last night because I was tired and hungry and frustrated and then I immediately threw the spatula down and grabbed him up because NO.

    I love the feel of a near-teen girl’s hand in mind. It is wholly different from that of the 3 yr old and the 9 yr old. It is different and I love that it sometimes still finds it way into mine.

  • Miss Britt

    I am so glad to see all these smiles. No one deserves them more. xo

    (Also, I’m totally jealous you got to go to Key West. Would you believe that, after living in Florida for five years and traveling the country for one, it’s still the one place Jared wants to visit that we’ve never seen??)

    • Momo Fali

      No! You must go. You would love it there!

  • Sharon Graham

    I am so happy that you and your family were able to play and celebrate life. (I remember the sadness when the last vacation was canceled). I love the pictures too. You are right in that we should all never take our children for granted! Thanks for sharing and have a great rest of the trip.


  • anymommy

    Perfection. I’ve been thinking about a line in a poem that I love all weekend. Except I’ve changed the line a bit in my mind: Grief and joy on one tether and running, beautiful, together.

  • Shannon

    The look on your son’s face when he is floating in the water is magnificent. It is all that is good with the world. And at a time when the wrongness of things is oh so loud, I am appreciating the good. So glad that you are, too.
    Beautiful post.

  • tara

    Those pictures are amazing! So glad you guys got to have a good trip. I’m with Zak, life is too damn short.

  • Redneck Mommy

    I’m so glad you had this trip with your family. So so glad. xo

  • Melisa

    Oh. My. Gosh.
    My heart.

    What an awesome trip. You’ll all remember (and talk about) it forever.


    P.S. The picture of your boy ordering at Hog’s Breath is awesome. haha!

  • Liz

    The thing about, if your teen daughter is really happy she might even hold your hand…my heart just melted.

    • Momo Fali

      It happened more than a few times. It was as awesome as it sounds.

  • Jenn

    Oh, Momo, I truly needed to read this. You made my heart all warm & fuzzy. What a great reminder to live life to the fullest. And if I ever forget? I’m going to go back and look at the expression on your son’s face in the pool.

    • Momo Fali

      Isn’t that just the best? That is some authentic happy, right there.

  • vicki

    A precious and inspirational post Momo. We too are on vacation since Saturday and it’s been difficult to be present, but I’m trying with all my might.

  • mare

    I LIVE in FL and have never been to Key West. Crazy. So glad you got to get away. Darling pics of your boy. The best thing we can do after seeing tragedy is to enjoy life more. It’s really short.

  • Rhea

    Love this post.

  • cyndy

    Looks like SUCH a beautiful vacation.
    I’m glad you were able to keep it positive and not get bogged down in sadness.

  • Kathleen

    I really admire the way you were able to hold it together and focus on making the trip a celebration for your family. We have to embrace every opportunity for joy, even when they come at difficult times.

    P.S. Teenage daughter holding mom’s hand = priceless

  • AlisonH

    Wow. And sniffly here. Wow. My heart goes out to Victoria’s family, to the Greene little girl whose aunt and uncle are neighbors of my sister, to all of them and all of us, together.

    And so glad that someone made it so you and your family could go and truly *live*! Wow. So grateful for all the good that you are and do.

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