Monday, January 20, 2014

Cruisin' and An Epiphany

A little less then a year ago Man and I began to plan our 10 year anniversary trip.  We have been on one adults-only trip in the last eight and a half years and that was for two nights after Olivia turned one.  So, we were long over-do.  I am certain I was caught in a moment of weakness when I agreed to a seven night cruise.  You know, the kids had probably rope tied me, painted the walls, and ran naked through the yard that day.  But, I agreed.  And, for quite some time I was very excited.  Then the worry and mommy in me began to get the best of me.  I couldn't sleep and I was terrified to leave them, especially Allye.  I honestly felt like I was somehow being unfair to her to do this, when I had never left the other girls that young.  While I had the best replacement lined up, I couldn't get over it.  I even got slightly hysterical one night and told my mom and Man I just couldn't do it.  They were very polite to me now that I think about it.  Then, the next day, the kids were back to swinging from the fans, screaming at each other, and I didn't even get to go to the bathroom alone.  I packed my bags that night.  The cruise was a month away.  

For this cruise we chose Royal Caribbean and I cannot say one bad thing about them, except they wouldn't let me have my iron in my room.  I am my mother's child, what can I say?  I ironed what I needed to with my curling iron.  So there.

We were soon setting sail to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and the cruise line's private island. 

St. Maarten
 I didn't have to beg Man too hard to take me zip lining in St. Maarten.  The drive to the location was less then glamorous but the location itself was beautiful.  After a short lesson we were off and zipping from tree to tree and navigating the rope courses when we weren't able to zip.  He was impressed.  There were no cameras allowed on the course, for very good reason I realized after seeing it.  I was able to snap a few of the grounds once we were done.

The road we walked on to and from the transportation.

 The next day we landed in St. Thomas and WOW!  I think I could live there.  This place was stunning!  As soon as we disembarked we saw gondola chairlifts in the distance and made a beeline for them.  Wearing swimsuits and cover-ups we thought we were beach bound for the day but so thankful we made this detour.  After riding the chairlifts up the mountain we landed in a hillside shop with a restaurant and outdoor bar area.  

St. Thomas
Our next day was spent on the ship.  Being that the theme of the year is outdoor adventures I couldn't pass on the outdoorsiness (it's a word now) offered right aboard the ship.  First up, rock climbing.  

I chose the dark blue course, as it is labeled beginner, and I made it to the top!  Man had done this once, earlier in the week, so he was going to choose tan.  I began to notice he was using many different colors, so when he arrived back at the bottom I called him out casually mentioned my observation.  He's married to a rule follower.  He knows it.

Then there was the Flow Rider.  If you haven't met, let me introduce you.  The Flow Rider is a wave simulator.  A very nice mate assists you onto your board, gives you detailed instructions, pushes you out, and you ride.  Or not.

I watched Man do this for quite some time before I was brave enough.  I took lots of wonderful pictures that look like this. 

He offers to take some of me so the kids will believe I actually did it.  Once I settle back in after a couple of turns I am so thrilled to see the shots he got.  

Yes, I am that white.
The power of the wave is no joke.

Lookin' good right?
He let go!  How dare he?
So, after I gathered my swimsuit bottoms  from my knees and trudged to the back of the line, I tried it again.  And guess what?  I stayed up for more then five seconds.  But you know what?  I don't have any pictures to prove that.  I'll give you two guesses why and the first one doesn't count.  Uh huh.  You know who was already to the back of the line plotting his next turn before I could say, "Flow."

Moving on.  Boogie boarding.  

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Having lots of time to reflect during this trip I actually came to terms with something that is very hard for me to swallow.  We all come from different places and make our decisions about our marriages, families, children, and lives based on our past experiences.  For me, I grew up during my youngest years, with a single mom.  She worked herself to death to better our lives.  For me, this often meant long hours in daycare, many times followed by a trek back across the hospital parking lot for a night meeting.  It took many years, and lots of growing up to be able to be grateful for the dedication and hard work she put in so that my life could be what it is today.  I know, without a doubt, that I would not be where I am without her fortitude.  I have chosen to not work outside of our home because my work ethic matches hers and I never wanted to have to choose like she did.  So far we have been able to make this happen for our family.  But, here is what I realized also happened along the way.  I have become so much a part of my children I often "forget" that I am a woman and a wife.  I have been working so hard for my children to "have" me that I spend every ounce of energy on them, leaving nothing else at the end of the day for myself or my husband.  This trip was a HUGE reminder of the woman I am, the wife I am, and that I owe it to myself, my husband, our marriage, and our family to reserve a part of me that is in no way defined by our kids or my successes and failures as a mother.  It can eat you up.  It has eaten me up at times.  When I think about what really matters, the one thing that comes first to me, every time, is that my three precious girls can look back and know that I loved them.  Because for all of my days in daycare and nights at meetings...that is never what comes first when I think about my mom.  I always, always think about her love for me first.  Our paths in motherhood are different, but I can only hope the outcome is the same.

----The Mama


  1. Goosebumps when I was done. Amazing trip and heartfelt reflection by an even more amazing woman!

  2. Love this. Thank you for sharing. I am thrilled for you that you were able to take this vacation, and that you decided to go through with it. Mama stayed home with us, and never went away over night. Even though I'm not a mother, as an adult, I often think about what that must have meant for her. Always love your posts. Glad you had a great time. And, Happy Anniversary!


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