The Balconies of My Life: The View from Jubilee Landing

*This post was originally posted on my first blog Modern Day Southern Belle 

Pink Sunset, Jubilee Landing Balcony

“I want the condo to be a place that all of my family can enjoy.  Bring family pictures to put up.” Christy told my mother right after they purchased Jubilee Landing.  I wrote this blog post last week for Christy.  I wanted her to know just how much spending time with family at Jubilee Landing meant to me.  I wanted her to know that she accomplished her goal of having a condo for all her family to enjoy.  As I wrote last week, I was hopeful yet worried that she might not get the opportunity to read the post. I quickly chased those thoughts away knowing that she would be around a few more weeks. On Monday, we realized a few more weeks with our Christy was probably not the reality.  I thought about sending her this post but I knew she would not be able to read it.  I stopped the scheduled publication date since the blog seemed trivial in the midst of losing my cousin who is more like my sister. However, I realized these memories are what we need at this time because Christy really lived. She taught me a lot over my life but in the last seven or so  years of living with cancer, she taught us all how to enjoy life even when everything is not ideal. She inspired me to not worry so much, take up every sweet moment, and be a spirited strong woman when voicing opinions! Most importantly Christy loved deeply and we love her.  She would not stand for us being sad for too long so this blog is about good family times because she always said she loved a full house of family and friends.

The Original Blog Post
In the mornings, after just a few hours of sleep, we return to where we left off the night before – the balcony at Jubilee Landing. Mom is usually the first one out after starting the pot of coffee followed by Ed and me. It is quiet.  We are all sleepy but want to savor every precious minute of sitting on the balcony.  Coffee cupped in hands, we quietly watch the waves and look for dolphins.  Boats slowly drive by for a morning fishing expedition.  The only sounds are of seagulls and waves in the distance.  Closer by, a low roar of a boat motor gently splashes through the bay trying not to leave a wake. Other family members start to drift out one by one as we wake up on the balcony.  The quiet sounds turn into sleepy conversation and morning laughter that becomes more boisterous as the coffee begins to take effect.

The mornings lead into days spent water side.  The days turn into evenings back on the balcony as the sunset awes us  for a quiet moment until the loudness of my family once again takes over. Ever heard of the phrase gumbo ya-ya?  I heard the phrase about a year ago and finally found the perfect description of our family.  The Cajun phrase means everyone talks at once.  We are an excited bunch and while we don’t mean to interrupt, if you want to get in and stay in the conversation you have to work at it. We all talk over each other but are rarely offended because somehow we all manage to hear what everyone is saying.   The conversations get deeper or sillier or a combination of both. The topics of discussion all just depend on the mood that our beverages take us to at that time.

The sun finally drops into the ocean and the lights of  the condos surrounding us reflect into the bay. The guitars come out and the singing begins.  The evening gets later but every one pushes on, not wanting the balcony party to come to an end. Eventually the beds call and the energy quiets for a few hours.  The sun rises and the condo rituals start once again.

I love that place.  The times spent on the balcony of Jubilee Landing is such an accurate depiction of so many characteristics of our family. It is one of those places that I genuinely feel like me because my family is me.  The happy family times created over the last two years stay with me long after summer turns into winter.  Put me on a condo balcony, even if it is not Jubilee Landing, and the memories are so real that I can feel my family around me even when they are not there.  The memories create real feelings of comfort and a deep contentment. I am beyond blessed to have my family and a place where we all gather every summer.  I can’t wait until the next time I am on the balcony of Jubilee Landing.

Morning begins
Watching the morning
Magnolia smells like salt water
My love
Orange Sunset, day turns into evening
Cousins and Champagne
Deep conversations
Christy and Mom
Night lights on water
Let the concert begin!
Pensive or confused?
More deep conversations
Family time on the balcony for many more years and generations to come!!!

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