2017-04-20 / Top News

Fun times with a first-timer in Florida for spring break


Over the years, my spring breaks have changed drastically. There were the spring breaks of adolescence, which being a Southwest Florida teen, were all about hanging out on the beach with girlfriends, pool hopping among resorts and flirting with northern boys on vacation with their families.

Then there were the spring breaks of my early 20s and getting invited to beach parties full of frat boys down here from Midwestern colleges.

Later, when my son was a boy, spring break meant trips to Disney World or Busch Gardens.

More recent years, my spring breaks have been spent staying at home as much as possible to avoid the insane traffic that plagues our little corner of paradise this time of year.

But, this year’s spring break has been like no other: I’m a Nana on crutches (due to a broken ankle) spending it with a curious, energetic 3½-year-old on his first-ever trip to Florida.

On his first trip to Florida, Bentley attempts to listen to the ocean through a decorative ceramic starfish. 
STEPHANIE DAVIS / FLORIDA WEEKLY On his first trip to Florida, Bentley attempts to listen to the ocean through a decorative ceramic starfish. STEPHANIE DAVIS / FLORIDA WEEKLY Bentley: What are those trees, Nana (actually, since vowel sounds are still a bit of a challenge, aforementioned toddler pronounces it “Need-nah”)?

Me: Palm trees.

Bentley: What is that water, Nana?

Me: The river.

Bentley: What’s it do?

Me: Um, it flows.

Bentley: Where is your basement, Nana?

Me: We don’t have one. There aren’t many basements in Florida like there are in Ohio.

Bentley: Then where does everybody keep their washer and dryer?

Me: Um, in their laundry room.

Bentley: “Then your monsters are in your laundry room because you got no basement for them to live?”

Bentley’s other grandparents live on a farm in rural Ohio where he gets to learn about chopping wood and shucking corn, which is pretty identical to my life when I was 3½ years old. I was around 8 when we took our first trip to the land of Disney World, palm trees and swimming pools, so I didn’t have a lot of questions. I just wanted a suntan that I could take back to Ohio and show off to my pale friends.

Bentley, however, is a different story. On his first night here, he looked over the balcony of our condo, pointed toward the community Jacuzzi and asked, “Is that the pool, Nana?”

“No, Bentley,” I answered. “That’s the hot tub.”

He then pointed toward the actual pool. “And that’s the cold tub?”

His fascination with visiting his Florida Nana and my husband (“GrandTodd”) hasn’t all been Florida-centric. Our refrigerator has been a source of great wonder because water and ice come out of the door. When Bentley asked how such magic could occur, I was at a loss and said a machine inside the fridge makes the water and ice (that’s pretty much right, right?). When we were visiting friends the next day, our hostess offered Bentley something to drink and he requested “machine water.” And at every restaurant we’ve been to, he politely orders, “Machine water, please.”

Bentley’s been pretty patient with my limited abilities due to the aforementioned crutches. When I had to sit on the sidelines while he and my son played in the pool, he asked, “Why you can’t get in the cold tub, Nana?”

“Because of my dumb broken ankle, Bentley.”

Every morning when he wakes up and sees me in my boot/cast he asks, “Your ankle not better yet, Nana?” When he offered to kiss it and make it better, my heart melted.

This spring break has brought so many heart-melting moments: The pictures my son texted me of Bentley during his first-ever airplane ride. Bentley’s reaction to the Florida sun (“So bright!”). Watching him play on the beach with his dad — the same where beach I grew up after we moved here when I was 9, and same beach where my Florida-native son played as a baby. But, mostly, simply watching the two of them together. There’s nothing like seeing your only child parent his only child in such a loving, caring, patient way.

There’s been no spring break more special than Bentley’s first spring break in Florida. Next spring break, when he’s 4½, I’ll be sure to have lots of machine water ready for his arrival. ¦

— Ciao for now, my lovelies! Stay tuned for another divalicious diary entry next week.

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