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We woke in the morning and prepared for the drive to San Antonio. Coffee for the adults, strawberry milk and breakfast for the kids. There was some drama with getting our stuff from the condo to the car, as the apartment complex was repainting the outdoor floors on the level we were on. But the painting crew was fantastic and helped me get it all down a flight of stairs and to the car, while my mom stayed in the room with the kids.

After loading up all of the things, doing one last check of the condo for anything left behind, and getting everyone into the car, we headed to the front office and turned in our key cards. Then we drove to the break to grab lots of seashells for memory jars and jewelry. I said my goodbyes to the ocean, and thanked it for the memories and healing. After this small adventure, I demanded Starbucks and fulfilled my caffeine needs, and we headed to our next destination.

I had been to San Antonio in what feels like a past life, and I had loved what I had seen there 16 years before. I wanted time to explore it and share it with my kids. Back when I was 18 and there, my then husband and I flew in, found our hotel, walked the Riverwalk for a few hours, ate, and went to bed. We had an early morning flight the next day, and so we didn’t have a lot of time to do much. I wanted to see and do more this time. I wanted to create a new memory of this place.

Driving into this city named after a saint was much different. I’ve driven to a lot of places in my time. I’ve dealt with traffic that was horrid, ice that probably should not have been driven on, in fog that covered the front end of the car, rain and lightening that would have terrified children if not most adults, on roads where animals play a deadly game of chicken with cars, highways that are filled with endless butterfly slaughter, and even in other countries where traffic laws are confusing and scary. I had never seen a hurricane escape lane before. That was new.

I had chosen a hotel that was cheap but close to the Riverwalk, as I knew that I everything I wanted to see and do this time was within that general area. We pulled into our hotel, got our room, unloaded and made lunch. We used the leftovers from the fish and made some very tasty fish tacos. After cleaning up, we had the desk call us a taxi, and we headed for the Riverwalk.

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We did a lot of walking. It was humid. It was hot. I was fairly certain one of us would pass out from it eventually. But we hung in there. We had snacks and drinks at Dick’s Last Resort, where we laughed and mom and I begged the waiter to take the over-stimulated children as payment, but he turned us down. We saw one of my favorite celebrities on a bridge that held a completely different memory for me from years long gone.

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There is beauty and life everywhere there. Here is a brief glimpse of it all:

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I let the kids pick toys for themselves that were not related to the trip, and we found another taxi and headed back to the hotel. I took the oldest to the pool, and soaked my aching feet while I enjoyed the sounds of slapping water while staring at the stars. Even in a large city, you can find a moment of zen, however brief.

Crawling into bed with my youngest, I fell asleep listening to sirens and traffic instead of ocean waves and wind. I slept like the dead.