Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vacation Hesitation

Today's post is going to make me feel like a spoiled brat, I know it. That or I feel like I need to say it for anyone reading who doesn't really know me. Tomorrow the family leaves on our first vacation together since Dad died. We're so excited to be getting together and going someplace that half the family enjoyed last year (a few of us couldn't make the '09 trip). But I also know that deep down I'm worried that the trip will bring up weird emotions: Dad won't be there. Every joyous dinner table (we are a party of 16, mind you) will have a figurative empty chair in the corner. And that dark-side talking thing is so not like me. I don't like feeling the negative and I pray to God that I won't put a damper on anything (or drive B nuts, as I've already started my successful campaign on that front this morning as cleaned the entire apartment).

I'm not used to having true mixed feelings on things. This is a vacation, a wonderful escape for all of us that Mom was so incredible to plan completely on her own as a gift for all of us, and what an amazing gift! A whole week with my siblings and their kids (all 7.5 of them). I'd take that gift anywhere, any day, so it doesn't hurt that it happens to be on a tropical beach where the pina coladas run like water and the grape supply is endless (the monkeys are very pleased about this).

I have a feeling that once we're all down there together we'll be able to host a private party at the white elephant's petting zoo and just look this bad boy right in the face. We're on vacation. Together. But Dad's not here. Maybe if we acknowledge it, and acknowledge that we're all feeling it, that will make things better. Easier. At least less introspective.

Like I said, I don't want to seem like the whiner here. Poor me, off on vacation and I'm not even happy to go. I am happy to go. Thrilled, in fact. B and I got away with his family in January and it was such an incredible time to reconnect with everyone and simply enjoy dinners, conversations, and even book swaps. (Ok, ok, and pirate happy arrrrrs, I'll be honest.)

Point being, I know in my heart that this vacation will be wonderful. Try being sad when you're surrounded with seven tiny people that need bubble baths, story time, "just five more grapes," the frosting off a donut, and another dip in the wave pool. I know my heart will be joyful, but there will also be a little corner that's sad.

I'm just hopeful I can grieve in a way that would make Dad happy, ie eating five donuts every morning for breakfast, not going in the water unless it's over 87 degrees, ordering the steak with the lobster at dinner, keeping the pool boys running for Diet Cokes, grabbing an afternoon nap, going through every packet of splenda at the table for my iced tea, and relishing each moment being surrounded my our insane, wonderful, growing family.

So next week, say a little prayer for my family that we can find all the joy in the world in each other and be oh-so thankful for the time that we have together. Oh, and get your self a dozen donuts or so, too. Your other option would be eating an entire package of peeps, so you can thank me later.

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