March 2009. Such sweet memories. I remember that whole special week and will cherish it until the day I die.
It was a celebration trip. A special mummy/daughters time marking that we had sold our former home, relocated, and were happily thriving in our new place.
I sat both girls down and told them I wanted to go on a trip; just the three of us girls. So we spent endless hours, for weeks, clicking on the internet, investigating different countries, beaches, resorts, things to do etc., until we came across cruising! Wow! Now that’s taking an adventure! Stopping off at different ports, exploring and getting all dressed up. It was unanimous! Cruising it was! We were so excited.
Now this trip ended up being more special than I had ever dreamed. I knew I wanted to take this time now to take a very memorable trip with my girls as they were both tweens. Very shortly, special mummy time, would be pushed aside (unintentionally mind you), with friends, boys, jobs, college/university etc. My little birds were beginning to spread their wings.
How was I to know that one year later, almost to the day, that my late onset Bipolar Disorder would set in and I would be changed forever?
I will be honest at this point. My display photo on this website and on all my social media is a photo that the girls took of me on the cruise just prior to going out for dinner. They are the ones that picked the photo for me as I was still a vibrant, lively, and loving-life woman. My eyes were sparkling, my smile was sincere, and I was at peace at all times. So ya, I cheated.
We flew from Toronto, Ontario to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We cruised the Eastern Caribbean Islands with our first stop in Grand Turks and Caicos. In Grand Turk we snorkeled and swam with sting rays and lemon sharks. After returning from that excursion, we basked on the sandy beach and soaked up the rays.
Back on the ship, headed for San Juan, Puerto Rico, we ate A+ meals, lounged by the pool, and investigated all the happenings on the Eurodam. The girls were ecstatic as they discovered a Youth Discoteque on board where they served fancy mocktails!
In the evenings, I took time to sit on my balcony and take in the calmness of the ocean as we clipped along at full tilt. The cool breeze and taste of salt on my lips was heavenly.
In Puerto Rico, the girls and I spent the day walking in and out of all the tiny shops and lunched at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant where we ordered off the menu (luckily I can read some Spanish!). After an 8 hour day of being on our feet, we headed back to the ship. More great food, some evening entertainments, and relaxation!
Our next port was Charlotte Amalie/St. Thomas, USVI. The scenery was breathtaking with sailboats in the harbor and homes built in the mountainside. We took the “99 steps” up to Blackbeard’s Castle which the girls found very cool! We also partook in a submarine excursion which was interested but lacked colour below 40 ft. The quantity of fish and sharks sure made up for it though! Iguanas were everywhere, basking amongst the rocks along Crown Pier. Back to the Eurodam for another evening of MORE food and entertainment! Life was just grand for the three of us.
Our final port was Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. The girls and I went parasailing which was so much fun! Plus our full last day soaking up sun before heading back to Fort Lauderdale and our way home.
Yes, it was an extravagant trip but do we regret it? No. The girls and I made some great memories. Plus, looking back, now that I have Bipolar Disorder, I would have never had the opportunity to FEEL some of those TRUE moments of happiness, joy, and peace. Sometimes you have to grab life while you can and live it to the fullest.
Laura Marchildon will blog honest and true posts about her real life experiences.