From the time we first met , DB has insisted that it would be healthy for us to take a week or so off from each other every year - we had spent ten (me) and fifteen (him) years living alone and could feel claustrophobic if we did not get some alone time after a while. We had wanted for him to transition slowly into my household after marriage - taking six to nine months to complete the process.
In reality, the logistics did not work out as we had wished; the move was much quicker and we were not ready to cope with the challenges that it presented. Surprisingly, J adjusted to him a lot sooner than we expected but the two of us were like Schopenhauer's porcupines. So once the dust had settled, he started to remind me that I needed to take a vacation with J, get away for a bit - enjoy some alone time without him. And finally this Christmas we were able to make it - a Caribbean cruise.
A mother-daughter trip is a very special thing - the first time to a new country even more so. J is now old enough that she can fully participate and enjoy the journey. She got really excited helping me pack for the trip - it was what made it real for her. Yet, when DB dropped us off at the airport, I felt a sense of deja vu and some simmering resentment at him for making me do this alone and not going on vacation as a "family". For years, J and I had traveled everywhere together - that was the only way and it was the extent of our family unit. Other than the wedding ring, nothing seemed to have changed in my life. But J seemed to see the vacation in a very different light. She has fading memories of the time when I was a single parent - so this was like a new adventure for her. By the time our plane landed in Miami my spirits had lifted.
Leaving the port and the city in gathering darkness until the horizon was wiped clean of tall buildings and the bare sky had taken over. One in a group of thousand strangers on a floating vessel in the middle of the ocean. Having the choice to lose access to phone and internet completely was strangely liberating. Anyone who wanted to contact me would now have to wait and I would need to make peace with being off the grid as well. And this was only a little after six in the evening - we were to be at sea all day the next day. I realized that I had not had a slice of quiet, unconnected time that long in the last fifteen years. I was not entirely sure how I would fare but decided to remain as unconnected as possible for the duration of this vacation. I wanted to experience my thoughts flow without interruption.