So, I just came back from a week away. Like away-away. I was in Holguin, Cuba at an all inclusive resort for one whole week. Just me, myself and I. Well, me with 12 other people in my group. But I meant I went by myself without Geoff or the kids.
I know some people will judge for that. Meh. Judge all you want. Fact is, it is cheaper for me to go by myself, I love the all inclusive and make the most of it, and at the end of the day, I deserved it. I work hard, and a lot and I have a lot of responsibilities. In reality, I have no more than most other moms, but then, I think most moms deserve to have a week away a couple of times a year. We earn it. Dads too, before you freak out. But (sweeping generalization coming up) I think dads tend to be more willing and apt to take the time off. I know lots of husbands that go on fishing trips, hunting trips, sports weekends, boys weekends, comic conventions (ahem) etc, etc, etc. The ladies I know just don't seem to do that, or at least not as much. So, ladies, this week was dedicated to you. :) You're welcome.
I am not going to give a play by play of the week, some of you have already heard it, some of you were there for it. Some of you just don't care. But I did want to talk about some of the stuff I thought about and felt while I was gone. Like always, my blog is my "a-membering place", so here I go, a-membering.
First and foremost, I remembered that I like to be by myself. I am comfortable in that. I like the peace and quiet that comes with my own company. The TV in my room didn't work. I didn't complain. If it had, chances are I would have turned it on at some point, even just for background noise. I really didn't need it, and I knew that, so I never got it fixed. As it was, I did dance around a bit with my ipod blaring in my ears. That was awesome and good enough for me.
Most mornings, even when it was raining, the first thing I did when I woke up was open my balcony door. I was on the second floor, with an amazing wrap around balcony. I looked out towards the ocean, with a protected marshland in between. In the mornings, I could see and hear the amazing birds and waterfowl calling to each other. Some sang, some screeched, and some just swooped back and forth in big, lazy arcs. It was amazing to watch and listen to. The morning we had the storm, I woke up to what I thought was thunder. It was actually the waves crashing on the beach. Good lord, it made me happy to hear.
I slept most nights with the curtains on the patio door open. I woke up when the sun came up. I got to see the amazing first lights, whether they were bright and blue and Cuban beautiful or grey and cloudy and the off-colour of fresh bruises. The light in the morning was my first hint at the day to come, and I relished it pouring in across the floor. I would lay still for a few minutes, and just watch it creep.
As a mom, I can honestly say that I can't remember the last time I watched that happen at home. Even if the kids aren't there, most times I am relishing the extra hour of sleep I am greedily hoarding. I have no time for a creeping sunrise. I might have to change that.
I brought a book that I had been waiting a month to read. Dr. Sleep, by Stephen King, the sequel to the Shining, which is one of my favourite books by him. I started reading on the plane on the way down. I was a third of the way done by the end of the flight. Even with limited read time, I managed to finish it by Wednesday. I had brought my Kindle as well, but to my dismay, the stupid thing broke. My friend Bill graciously lent me his, and I started reading a book that has been on my list forever. But my initial thrill at reading something I had been craving and staring at for days and weeks had passed, and I found other ways to occupy my time. However since I have been home, I have been pumping through the book, and browsing to see what else might be interesting on there. Is that bad? And invasion of privacy even? Dunno. Don't care. I don't think Bill will mind, and if he does, I am sure he will be quick to tell me. :)
I also learned how much it KIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLSSS me to not know what time it is. I thought I was going to go crazy. I had a plan that I was going to use my cell phone to tell time and as an alarm to help me not sleep all day (that really wasn't an issue, as I shared earlier.) However, since my cell phone couldn't find service in any way, shape or form, it wouldn't even tell me the time. So I spent the whole week literally having no idea what time it was. I would wake up and have no idea if it was 5am or 10am. I would try and judge based on the foot traffic traveling to the beach, or by the movements of my neighbours. Sometimes I would knock for the girl across the hall, who was part of our group, and based on her state of dress or undress, I would know if I was early or late. (Sorry, Rosemary!)
I was actually looking forward to not knowing the time, and not being beholden to a clock all week. I quickly discovered that the control freak in me had other plans. For the most part, I was good, when I was with other people, and when we were all together, just chilling and laughing and drinking and sunning. But when it came to starting or ending my day, I lost all perspective. And it drove me crazy.
Note for next year- buy a fucking watch.
I also remembered how much I love sleep. Solid sleep. Sleeping at night, with the covers thrown off, with a breeze blowing in and pillows piled up around your head smelling like your shampoo and sun and sand. Taking a nap in the heat of the day, feeling your shoulders burning comfortable, shucking down to nothing and just sinking into a sleep that is quick and deep. Of stretching yourself awake like a cat, come around in slow, small steps, and having nothing but a smile when you realize where you are. Dozing lightly in the sun, your bathing suit drying in the heat, your fingers trailing in the sand. Hearing the ocean and the distant hum of humanity all around you, enjoying life and love and liquor. :)
I remembered what it was like to be so well rested that I started to dream again. Vivid dreams. Dreams that, when I woke up, I wasn't sure if I had been sleeping. My dreams were good and bad, realistic and fantastical, anxiety filled and magical. But man...it made me realize how much I have missed dreaming.
So, what else did I learn?
I learned that I like talking to people. I like making new friends. I like reacquainting with old friends. I like telling secrets and hearing them in return. I like laughing hard enough that my ribs hurt (and they literally did, for the first 3 days). I like getting nicknames. I like being the center of attention. I like being on the sidelines, looking in. I like seeing people that I think I know, in a totally different light, in a totally different environment. I like complimenting people, and being complimented by them. I like jokes, and insults and innuendos.
Basically, I liked interacting with everyone on the trip. In our group, I knew only a few people. By the end of the week, I simply adored them all. They were in turn, hilarious, and sympathetic, insulting and crude and sweet and endearing. It wouldn't have been the same without them. I cannot thank them enough for giving me an amazing week.
So, yes, I went on vacation for a week. I drank Sunshines, and Tequila Sunrises, champagne and Cervezas. I did shots and smoked cigars. I walked in my barefeet in the sand, and I got stung by a jellyfish (thanks to everyone that offered to pee on me. Mostly thanks to Kathy for giving my vinegar, so no one had to). I got tanned, I got a little drunk, I got very happy. I laughed a lot, I cried a little. I picked up girls at the bar, I judged old men, and I helped a drunk not fall off her stool. I reconnected with old friends, I made new ones.
I got away from it all. Thank you to all of you- those that went, and those that stayed- that helped me run away and then come back.
Only 51 weeks to go until next year.
Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "next vacation please!"