Same Beach, 17 Years Later


I spent last week in Grand Cayman, tagging along on my husband’s conference.  It was the same place that we spent our honeymoon, 17 years ago.

Walking on Seven Mile Beach during our last morning on the island, my husband remembered how he felt as a 22-year-old when he was packing up to return home.  He would start medical school the very next day.  Thinking back to the mountain of hard work ahead: medical school itself, class rankings and decisions about specialties, residency applications and interviews, Match Day, fellowship interviews and placements, more Board exams — written and oral, and finally landing a “real” job… He left the island stressed, considering all of the dedication and determination that it would take to be successful.

I only remember being sad to leave the tropical paradise, but excited to return to our very own tiny, one-bedroom apartment.  Excited to return to my modest paycheck and grown-up job, with a boss that I adored.  Everything about that chapter in my life was new and thrilling.  I loved being a young “wife.” I quickly recognized that our courtship could not have survived the demands of medical school and that my smart husband knew that instinctively.  I expected too much attention as a girlfriend, but I was a supportive teammate and our young marriage flourished.  He went to school and studied; I went to work, volunteered, trained for races and planned frugal dinner parties with friends.  Our calendars were full and happy.

I looked at my husband and commented that I never knew that he felt that way.  He had made everything appear effortless from the passenger seat.  But, I’m thankful that he made it to the other side of the mountain.  In response, he just smiled quietly.

Something tells me that if we are ever lucky enough to return to the island in another 17 years, we’ll have a similar conversation about the last day on the beach.  No matter what stage of life you are in, there are always daunting goals ahead and unexpected stresses to manage on the horizon.

In 17 years, our kids will be raised and our youngest will be 22.  It took my breath away when I realized that he could be wrapping up his own honeymoon and beginning to climb his own mountain.  I hope that all three of my children have the courage to dream and to pursue their goals with focused determination.  If they are really lucky, they will also find a wonderful teammate to share the journey. . .

Cayman Sunset

11 thoughts on “Same Beach, 17 Years Later

  1. Suze says:

    yes, you will go back to that beach (or one just like it) and once again have the last day discussion with the man you love. You will find yourself amazed at just how much has remained the same over the years, and excited about the future. So glad I found your voice here…I think it is going to be an important one. Suze

    Liked by 1 person

    • kara says:

      Thank you, Carol. I look forward to following your adventures. Your life is very different from mine in Nebraska. Here we fry everything from Twinkies to pickles, but I’ve never seen fried frogs before!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. blondieaka says:

    Twinkies what are they? Frogs, Ants eggs, and insects all end up fried, I actually don’t mind Ants eggs, they have a lemony flavour….the insects …I have tried the odd one or two but generally avoid not my favorite Thai dish. Ha ha. Have a lovely day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mudpilewood says:

    I enjoyed reading your post, and I think you must have a strong marriage. We have survived 32 years of marriage and like you we often look back and are amazed at how far we have come. I wish you years of happiness and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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