Last week Mom and I upgraded our semi-annual spa get-a-way by forgoing a car ride and instead jumping on a plane to Bermuda for a few days. We had both been feeling a little chewed up and spit out by the early summer months so we convinced ourselves we deserved a little more than a chocolate massage at the Hershey Hotel. And, as usual, we were right.
A friend of mine warned me to bring my pajamas to Bermuda because the island was awfully boring, with nothing to do except hang out by a pool or a beach. It was the perfect endorsement – because that is ALL Mom and I wanted to do.
We stayed from Thursday to Sunday at the Grotto Bay Beach Resort which hails itself as the only all inclusive on the island. It is also one of the only resorts in Bermuda that actually has a beach on its property, which is why we chose it. But the all inclusive option was a nice touch for two women in need of a steady flow of alcohol.
When you stay at an all-inclusive, the guests tend to stick around the joint to get their money’s worth. Grotto Bay was not terribly expansive so we were treated to the same cast of characters for our viewing pleasure throughout our stay. Mom and I both like to watch people and we spent some quality time observing and making shit up commenting about those around us.
There was the well-dressed extended family of fourteen, complete with patriarch and matriarch, adult children and grand kids who traveled en masse to all meals, continuously passing a very quiet baby around the table so that everyone had a chance to eat.
An attractive young family of four who seemed adorable to me but Mom saw the father scold the little boy by pulling on his ear for some minor infraction. I tried not to look at them after I heard that.
A young girl who was probably around 15 or 16 who COULD NOT stop playing with her hair. Again, Mom flagged this behavior as we sat together at the Saturday night surf-n-turf barbeque. We spent a good minute counting the seconds she could go without touching her locks. It averaged about 5 seconds.
There was the (presumed) honeymoon couple who spent an entire lunch scrolling through pictures on their digital camera. This went on for quite some time, making me want to yell at them to get a room and use it! We saw them later at the airport as we were leaving and the new wife was STILL scrolling through those pictures. Narcissist or just thousands of pictures? We’ll never know.
The overweight man who had a red checkered tattoo that matched his bathing suit… the elderly couple who was there for 10 days and spent most of the time taking turns on a single raft… the family of three which included a young daughter also named Emily… the group of Southern women (who we never actually saw but heard every night in the room next door) on an all girls get-a-way… the middle-aged British couple who worked out next to us one morning who just shed “two stone” and were planning to keep it off. The list goes on…
It wasn’t lost on Mom and me that our encounters with these people were shallow and fleeting, like a stone skipping along the water. In reality, their lives are much deeper and more expansive than we could ever know.
Most likely, to them, we were the “mother and daughter who did everything together. When one swam, the other swam. When one got a drink, the other followed. They ate their meals together, played cards in the early evening before dinner, took the same photographs, and retired very, very early to read their books side by side in their matching double beds. They seemed very content to chat or remain silent in each others company. They got along very well except for the time they bickered over which way was the fastest walking path to dinner.”
But that was the shallow part. The other guests would never know how much we enjoy the simplicity of spending uninterrupted time together now and then, how we felt badly that my sister couldn’t join us on this mother/daughter excursion, or how incredibly blessed I feel to have a mother who is indeed my best friend. We were content to wade into the lives of others – and have them wade into ours for a few short days, knowing that just below the surface lies so much more.