“Next week I’m going on an eight-day cruise with my mom.”
And I’m terrified.
On Thursday, Dec. 20, we’re flying to New Orleans, where we’ll stay for two days. Then we’ll board a ginormous luxury liner named “Vision of the Seas” and set sail to Cozumel and Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico, and then Grand Cayman.
By the time January 1 rolls around, Mom and I will have ..
Spent. ten. consecutive. days. of. constant. togetherness. sharing. a. room. the. whole. time.
Some History …
Last year was the first holiday season of my still-in-progress divorce. I was already losing my mind dealing with the stress, paperwork, and arguing. Christmas was threatening to push me over the edge.
In early September, I marched over to Mom’s house, waved a brochure featuring a large cruise ship on its cover, and announced, “We are running away from home this Christmas!”
“Sounds good to me!” she replied.
And we promptly booked a seven-day cruise to Puerto Vallarta.
I was surprised that Mom (aka “Ms. Christmas Overkill”) so readily agreed to abandon ship (so to speak) during the holidays, but looking back, I’m sure she needed a break.
It had been a rough year for her, too.
Some Context …
I am an only child. With my my drug-addicted father spending his time and money elsewhere (thanks, Dad), my mom raised me alone. She had her faults but overall, Mom did a damn good job, keeping me safe, fed, and educated on a bank teller’s salary. We’ve had a close relationship all my life.
Therefore, when I jumped off the cliff into parts unknown in 2017, I took her with me.
And What a Circus It’s Been.
My poor mom has gone above and beyond what’s required in her job description.
She’s held me while I’ve sobbed myself sick, taken me to the movies when I could barely function, bought me groceries, and let me use her mailing address during a period when I moved three times.
I honestly don’t know how I would have survived without her.
Last year’s “runaway from home” cruise was wonderful. We had the best time going to comedy shows, eating exotic food (escargot, anyone? Me? Never again) and enjoying the ship’s upbeat atmosphere.
In fact, we had such a good time that we decided to do it again this Christmas. Hence the pending ten days of togetherness.
Only Now I Don’t Want To Go.
This isn’t about my mom. It’s about me.
I’m coming off of eight months of severe bingeing. None of my pants fit. I’m tired. I just don’t feel good. All I want to do is turn off my phone, crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head, and sleep until January 2, 2019.
But even if I could do that, I wouldn’t. Mom and I have planned this time together and I’m going to show up for her.
Because this is the part where I get to be adult. This is the part where I get to make things – gasp! – not about me.
I am going to have a good time on our vacation because I’m going to make it that way. I’m going to take the advice of good ole Abe Lincoln who said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
I am going to be happy.
And I’m going to take care of myself: I’m going to stay away from the buffet table when it’s not mealtime, take full advantage of both the gym and the downtime, write daily, and show up as my very best self.
Because if anyone deserves my best, it’s my mom.
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