If anyone had asked me years ago if I would have immediately said yes when my teenage son asked if his girlfriend could come on vacation with us, I would have laughed and then hemmed and hawed and probably would have said no. Things have really changed since the days of how I thought I’d parent.
When he asked me, I thought about it…hmmm…what kind of kid would he be in front of his girlfriend? Would he be the brother that aggravates his sisters until they cry? Would he be the teenage boy who is still fascinated by the sounds coming from every orifice of his body? Would he be the moody, sullen boy that makes sure the whole family knows he would rather be someplace else? Or…would he be on his best behavior? Would he be happy because he’d have no reason to be moody or sullen because she was with us?
I did not enjoy the cruise or the Bahamas. It was too much work for two days on a boat and a few hours on the beach in the Bahamas (more on that in a second). I did enjoy my older son and his girlfriend. I saw a side of him that as a mom, made my heart swell with pride. He pulled her chair out, he opened doors and made sure she didn’t want or need anything. The best part? They were with us the whole time. I thought he’d want them to go off and do their own thing but we did all the meals together, sat by the pool together and went to the beach together. I feel like we got to know her and we see why he cares for her so much. I’ve made it no secret that my daughter has had a rough middle school experience and his girlfriend really took her under her wing and made her feel special. So much so that when we were at the beach, I had to tell her to leave the couple alone while they walked in the sand (Not that I am complaining that she was like Velcro to the happy couple). If I had a chance to do it again, I would in a heartbeat.
The actual vacation? Well…
The first part wasn’t bad. We arrived in Boca Raton around midnight so all we did was go to sleep. The next day, we went to the pool for most of the day ( I was super responsible this trip and didn’t burn…I didn’t get tan either which was a bummer but adding another doctor to our pay roll was enough of a reason to be responsible). The kids drove me a little crazy wanting to be tan and asking which sun screen should they put on and how long before it dries and what will let them tan but not make them burn. Leo and I had a long overdue date night while the in-laws fed the kids and took them for ice cream. When I went downstairs after getting ready, there was an immediate rush of compliments about what I was wearing. Apparently, I dress like crap normally. I wanted to say, “See what a shower and clothes without stains does for a person?”
The cruise to the Bahamas? Ummm…how can I put this? It was a freaking disaster (and here we go). One disaster after another. I didn’t want to go in the first place. I get sea sick. I’ve tried everything but nothing works for me. I’ve been on three cruises before this one and several dinner cruises and I’ve gotten sick on every one of them. I was adamant about this, saying that I didn’t want to spend vacation sick in a cabin with Gia and the next thing I know, we are booked for a two night cruise. That shows you how much weight I carry around here. I’ve come to the conclusion that it must be a lot easier to argue with me than it is to argue with others. No one told us we needed a notarized letter from Nico’s girlfriend’s mom saying we could take her out of the country. Once that was settled, we got on the boat and tried to buy dress pants for Tommy because surprise, surprise, he forgot his. He claims I said he didn’t need them but since I bought them solely for the cruise, it’s not likely that I said that. There weren’t any pants to be bought (the store was closed anyway). Gia wanted to go swimming but we forgot her arm floats. Guess what a cruise to the Bahamas doesn’t sell? Arm Floats.
It was insanely crowded and we couldn’t find a seat by the pool. When we finally did, they closed the pools because we had to go inside for some safety talk. Gia had fries for lunch because it was the only thing she recognized. There were no strawberries or chicken fingers and the orange juice wasn’t actually orange juice. Finding water that wasn’t bottled (and expensive) was difficult. We got all dressed up to go to dinner, snuck Tommy in by distracting the maitre d’ and right before dessert, Tommy, Gia and I had to go back to the cabin because we were sick. We played a lot of “Go Fish”, “War” and “Crazy Eights”.
The next day we were docked and planned to go to the beach. That’s when I realized I didn’t have my wallet. I completely freaked out, tore my room apart, checked the welcome desk but had to get off the boat to go to the Bahamas (sunglasses came in handy). We walked off the boat and were greeted by locals wanting to show us around the island. My in-laws thought that would be a good idea. The rest of us kept saying, “Let’s just go to the beach.” Next thing I know, I am sitting in the very back seat of a 1970 Conversion Van with no air (conditioner or wind) reaching Gia and me. What did we see? We saw devastation and poverty. I have been to the Bahamas before and it was beautiful so I am really not sure what that tour was. We finally got to the beach, stood in line for a much-needed Pina Colada and found a spot to settle in. Because I didn’t have my wallet, I was distracted and worried. I really felt like I was on the outside looking in. I was watching my family having fun and I didn’t have it in me to join in. And then, the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak, (Warning: TMI), while sitting on the beach, I got a little surprise that no woman ever wants while at the beach. When we got back on the boat, Leo found my wallet in a safe in another room and that began me putting things away and then not finding them. I hate when I do that and I seem to do it a lot.
Everyone raves about the food on a cruise but I am a Lou Malnati’s, Pot Belly, yoga pants wearing girl (okay, girl is a stretch) so I had a hard time finding something to eat. The Pina Coladas were good.
Back in Florida we went to the pool, went to dinner, Leo and I went back to the first restaurant that we went to because it was that good and went to Barnes and Noble.
I learned a very valuable lesson: I don’t need adventure in my life. I need relaxation. I will never again complain about going to my in-laws on Spring Break.
If you are friends with me on FB, you have already seen this picture but we took it at Easter and it’s the most recent one.
I’ve had a few posts in the drafts folder for a few weeks now and keep rewriting and rewriting. I’ll give you a few hints: girls are mean, insurance sucks, standardized testing is dumb and I’ve had my fill of doctors.
What’s something you said you’d never do as a parent that you find yourself doing?