The last time I went on a cruise, I was 17 years old in high school on my senior cruise. I don’t remember much of it, although I do remember my pink bra flying from a flag pole off the side of the ship one morning. Heading into this cruise with my kids, husband, in laws, brother and sister in law and niece and her boyfriend, I wasn’t anticipating as good of a time as I had on the Costa Riviera in 1989. In fact, I was wondering how quickly I would end up jumping overboard. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this trip.
What I have learned about cruising: 1. Atavan is really great to have handy. It works as well as Dramamine or the patch or those seasick bands, and you are very very calm throughout the day; 2.
Mexican Ambien does not appear to have the same ingredients as American Ambien. 3. Having 24/7 access to ice cream and pizza when you have PMS is not such a bad thing; 4. Not having internet is great. You can bond and focus and all that. But getting it back for 5 minutes a day is really really awesome. 5.. Mexican billboards are great for teaching kids about new concepts. If you don’t believe me, check out the picture Lauren drew at dinner that says “Viagra” with a drawing showing what it does. 6. Listening to your kids giggling in one room together is the best noise in the world. But walking in and asking them what they are doing, and having your 4 year old say “We were just discussing penises” is not. 7. Having adjoining rooms with the kids is fantastic. But that still doesn’t stop the kids from banging on the door during your “naptime” with your spouse and asking “what are you guys doing in there? We are bored!”, interrupting said nap.
Seeing your spouse with his sibling makes you realize how special that relationship is. Your sibling is the only one that knows what it was like to grow up in your house. The only one who remembers your childhood home and the one who knows all the crazy things your parents did during the 1970s (well, maybe that is just my family). I hope that when my kids grow up they will all stay friends and travel the world with all of their families together.
I have some friends who always compare their in laws to their own parents. My in laws could not be more different than my own parents. And that is fine. Sometimes we have to stop and remember that these people raised our spouses and they obviously did a good enough job for you to marry him or her. It is important for our kids to spend quality time with all of their relatives and hear their stories and know where they came from. Whether you like it or not, half of their genetic material is inside those kids. And the best memories I have of my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were mostly from vacations or quality time we spent together.
My parents take my family and my sister’s family out to dinner every single Sunday night and they have been doing this my whole life. Now that my sister has 2 year old twins, and a husband who likes to yell at everyone about politics, the dinners are much quicker than they used to be. But we know that every Sunday all of the cousins will get to have dinner together.
Both my parents and Craig’s parents are going to take a few weeks of the tour so that they can spend time with Sam on the road and so that I can go home and take care of the rest of my family. This is the greatest gift that any of them can give to our kids. The fact that this cruise was sponsored by my inlaws for my father in law’s 75th birthday was wonderfully extravagant. But the memories are priceless. And as we head home tomorrow to step into our new reality only 3 days away, I’m glad I had this time with everyone.
And sometimes, when you are with a family that is not your own, you do things you would never ever do with your own parents. Like wearing matching t-shirts to dinner that have our names embroidered on the chest. Did we do that? Yep, and I’m so glad we have the picture to remember it.