In terms of a cruise, the first thing anyone thinks after “relaxation” is “romance.” We have visions of dressing up, attending fancy dinners, and kissing on a ship’s deck under a million twinkling stars.
This inspires hundreds of thousands to embark on cruises; however, it is not the case for me.
My love boat recently just sank like the Titanic. In fact, my cruise is embarking on what would have been the day of my 17th anniversary. Instead of celebrating this milestone, the dissolution of this relationship awaits finalization in divorce court. It’s a strange time in my life as I’m trying to figure out who I am. Whoever it is, it’s far different from who I was.
My life used to be picture perfect. I was the beautiful wife married to the successful husband. We had the American dream: three wonderful children and the “white picket fence” that everyone wants. I homeschooled, kept the house in flawless order, made all our meals from scratch, and ran an entire youth program for middle-schoolers and high-schoolers. I was Donna Reed. I was Martha Stewart. I was what everyone else wanted me to be.
Then life happened as it tends to do. Sometimes it throws you into situations where you slowly wake up and realize you are living with a stranger. The stranger might be your partner. The stranger might be yourself. For me, it was both.
The last few years of my life have been about survival. As I’ve become increasingly aware that a divorce was in the future, I’ve taken steps to prepare. My husband and I have spent very little time together, and I have been working nights as a waitress. Being so busy has actually helped me keep my sanity in what are otherwise maddening circumstances. My only regret is that my children have been lost in the shuffle, and I have been disconnected from them to a degree.
Change has been needed for some time. A divorce from a spouse shouldn’t mean divorce from one’s children, and I am taking the steps that I can to remove the obstacles standing in my way. A new home, a new job, a new life — we are starting over. All those things have led to this moment in time where I find myself single with three children, walking the decks of a Disney cruise ship.
It’s been a full day already since our ship left port this afternoon. The kids and I have eaten until the point of bursting. We’ve made new friends. We’ve laughed over the awkward situations of a tight stateroom. Most importantly, we’ve had a few touching moments inspire our cruise mantra, “Feel the family love.”
I look at each of my kids’ faces and understand that they are the reason I’m here, on this ship, beginning my journey as a single mom. I’m not here to complete someone else or be a better half. I’m here to complete me and be a better whole. This cruise is not about romance and fantasy. It’s about taking time out to get in touch with myself and with my children. I’m here to learn a bit about how we function as a new unit. I’m here to learn who I am in this new phase of life. I am here to heal.
Category: Disney Cruise Line