It was soon-to-be Christmas and all I knew was: I couldn’t be home for the holidays. Why? Too much bad had happened. We were coming off two years of horror with my husband’s terminal disease. He died on January 1st, of that year; we all limped along, in recovery, for 12 months; and now, the holidays were fast upon us.
Now, don’t ever think “terminal” just refers to the patient. When that verdict comes down, the whole family suffers. You never get away from it. Each moment is tinged with “Will this be the last time for this?” At other times, you just want the “awful” to end.
So, because I didn’t want to be around the wassail bowl answering Uncle Mattie’s ever-exasperating questions (“What will you do with the house?” hardly hiding his sexist expectation that no woman could maintain all of this alone,) I determined to take my girls and me to Cozumel.
Yep, Mexico would have us. With that, I booked a flight; minimally-packed; got us in a limo to Boston and flew out.
When I say ‘minimally-packed,’ I mean it. I was so bent on my mission that I allowed my 8 year old to pack her own suitcase (crazy?) meaning she took what she thought important: When I opened her suitcase in Cozumel, her giant history textbook popped out—a book half her size. She neglected to bring seasonally-adjusted clothes, like shorts and tops. After all, we were in winter zone at home and she thought everyone was. As I said, she was only 8.
How’d our trip turn out? It was one of the most memorable and beautiful ever. We snorkeled—the three of us—off the rocky coast of the island, mesmerized by the gorgeous coral, mango yellow, and neon green fish, darting about.
We bought a Mexican crèche on that trip and hand-carried it home (that’s it in the photo in a previous post.) We spent New Year’s Eve with a bunch of rowdy revelers, blowing horns wildly, and dancing about.
That trip was the year we broke with tradition…the day we three went on our own. It would be the precursor of longer trips to come as we became world travelers.
On that trip, I realized that breaking with tradition can be a far better route– one necessary in the growth process.
Maybe some of you reading this need to break with tradition for your own sake.
Wherever you are in the process, I wish you peace and a good year in 2017.