Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Mental Health and the Caribbean


Mike and I have been blessed with the opportunity to go on a Western Caribbean cruise, courtesy of a supplier we have purchased (a lot) from this year. As the day of our departure nears, I have been filled with lots of varying thoughts and feelings. We've only ever left our children for 3-4 days at a time before, so a 9 day trip takes a little bit more mental and physical preparedness than others in our past.

The other night, Mike and I went to dinner with our super-hero cousins who will be staying at our house watching our children. Although I know they are very capable, and need little instruction, my up-tightedness pretty much told them every secret, detail and going-on in our house on a daily basis. It was no wonder everyone else was finished with their meal, and mine wasn't even half done--I obviously did too much talking. My cousin wrapped it up nicely(?) when he asked/stated, "I have no question that your children are going to do just fine. My question is, "Are you going to be OK?"

Whattt??? I was just talking about who might fight with whom, what child might miss me the most, how to get two nights out of a wet bed-sheet, what child will never eat school lunch, what child may ignore their alarm, what time school starts, and who needs to be where, when.

No one said anything about me not "going to be OK."

Who was I fooling? Obviously some people know me well...

Despite the fact I didn't mention any of these things during our "instructional dinner", these things have been weighing on my mind as I prepare for my trip...

I wonder if there are ice bergs in the Caribbean Sea and then embarrassingly remind myself there are not and our ship will not suffer the same fate as the Titantic. But then I start thinking about sand bars and wonder if running into one of those could cause the same result.

I question whether or not I should either heavily drug myself during the lifeboat drill at the beginning of the cruise or fake sick and have to stay in a bathroom. After all, this is the gal, whose parents had to prematurely call an end to the family meeting on fire safety because of my distress.

It may or may not have crossed my mind about whether it is possible in a week for a child to shrivel up and die because they haven't had their parents home giving them hugs, kisses and "I love yous."

Mike, the water person, once scuba-diver, and "natural fish" has spent a lot of time poring over the 36 page document of shore excursions. After hours of deliberation, he said, "I really think the tour of the Bahamas sewer district looks very interesting." Yes. You read that right. I love my father-in-law, but that is something HE would do. I didn't know whether to feel more anxiety that my husband as he ages may possibly turn into his dad, or anxiety about him participating in the deep sea snorkel adventure he was weighing against the sewer tour.

Speaking of shore excursions, I worry about whether the "tour guides" and "bus drivers" could be bandits in disguise and will hold up a bus full of foreign tourists for ransom. I then start to mentally count up how much money I think our families could rally together should a ransom occur. I then realize, I really should be focusing on making sure I leave my fridge stocked and have my bags packed more than foreign bandits holding me hostage.

I had my heart set on a swim with the dolphins during one of the excursions. Swim, meaning the description says, "waist-deep water." I couldn't understand why Mike kept questioning my choice when I kept reminding him I wouldn't be in deep water and wouldn't get scared.(I don't like water.) It took me a couple of days, but finally I voiced out loud, what I think Mike was thinking... I haven't touched an animal since the days of having a dog as a child. I mean that. I don't touch goats, horses, dogs, chickens, rabbits or even dying goats. Why exactly do I think I would touch a dolphin? I'll stick with my bucket list item of a pair of shoes for every day of the year instead of adding "swim with dolphins" to it.

I keep expecting a phone call begging us not to go, from the family member who in case of a "permanent emergency" will take on legal guardianship of our 5 children. I feel a sense of relief that they haven't called. It tells me a. they aren't concerned about us going on this trip at all, or b. they love our children so much that the thought of tripling their family size doesn't faze them, or c. my brother, an attorney, has already figured out ways to get out of what he once assured me was a legal document.

Joshua and Drew excitedly asked me if I would see any pirates. My heart skipped a beat and up until that point I hadn't even thought about pirates. I plastered a big fake smile on my face and said, "Oh, no. I won't see any pirates! They live far away from where I will be." Since then, I have had to stop myself from googling "exact whereabouts of Pirates in the Caribbean Sea and the likelihood of a cruise ship having an encounter with them."

I keep a bottle of an over-the-counter natural anxiety supplement and use it when I travel. (Driving or flying.) My flying has become so much better lately, I think due to the frequency over the past couple of  years. My last two flights I didn't take any of my medicine and I'm happy to report I did marvelously well. I mentioned this little known fact to Mike the other day, when I was questioning whether or not I should purchase another bottle before this trip. I hadn't even finished my question, when Mike interrupted me and said firmly, "GO BUY IT."

Unfortunately, I could keep going. But if you remember, I actually started out this list attempting to dispute my cousins question of, "Are YOU going to be OK?"  and instead, I've found myself writing a list of facts supporting his concern for my mental health.

Really, I am very mentally sane. I have full faith the pirates, the icebergs and the foreign bandits will be kept at bay.

Bon Voyage!

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