If I didn't have the pictures to prove it, I wouldn't believe that we really did go on a fabulous Caribbean cruise. Our tans have faded, those extra pounds packed on at the late-night buffet have been burned back off, and we've sunk back into our daily grind so that the memory of warm sunshine, swim suits, and alone time feels like a very distant memory. Besides the snow globe and twisty straw sippy cups that we brought home for the boys, these photos are our only souvenir of our once in a lifetime experience. So please excuse me for a minute while I revisit our pictures and take a little mental trip back to that great big boat, that beautiful blue water, and that week where I fell even deeper in love with my sweetheart...................ahhhh.
It's always a little bittersweet to take a vacation without the kids because, although there is no one I'd rather be with than Aaron and our time alone is a treasure, I feel like I'm leaving a piece of my heart back home. Our trip simply wouldn't have been possible without the help of Nana and Papa Grover who generously stepped in for us and showered the boys with lots of love and attention--I don't even think the boys noticed we were gone!
Day 2: Princess Cays
Our boat docked at Princess Cays and we were taxied to a manmade version of heaven: a fine white sandy beach with crystal clear blue water, palm trees that swayed gently in the breeze, a blazing sunshine enjoyed from under the protection of a clamshell umbrella, and an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. After reading, napping, and sunbathing, Aaron and I kayaked but decided it felt a little too much like work and went back to relaxing under our umbrella.
Day 3: At Sea
Just because we weren't on shore doesn't mean we ran out of ways to entertain ourselves. In fact, Aaron contends that our "at sea" days were even more pleasant than our on shore days.
Day 5: St. Thomas
Day 6: St. Maarten:
We probably should have done a little more homework before we set off exploring an unknown island in the middle of the Caribbean. If we had done some research, we would have learned that people in St. Maarten (at least the French people in St. Maarten) don't like to wear clothes. Like, any clothes. Naively, Aaron and I thought that if we parked ourselves on the Dutch side of the beach, we'd avoid the injury to our retinas when the age-ed, leather-y, flabby French nudists strolled down the beach sans swimsuit. Wow. That was a cultural education alright.
Aside from the French nudists, St. Maarten was exquisitely beautiful and Aaron and I could have chilled on that beach for days. Or years.
If you've made it through my travelogue this far, then I will reward you with a good laugh. During the formal night, I insisted that Aaron and I get our pictures taken professionally. He was very reluctant, but I thought the prints would make a great keepsake of our vacation together. I am not sure if our heads stretched or our bodies shrunk, but I don't think I'll be hanging these circus-mirror pictures above my mantel anytime soon:
When Aaron texted me a few months ago to announce that he'd booked a cruise--without any discussion or consultation whatsoever--I immediately felt reckless and guilty. How can we justify spending the money for something so frivolous when we could use the money on so many practical things instead? When I look at these pictures, I quickly realize that there is nothing at the store that we could buy that would be more valuable than the memories that we created together that week that we spent together cruising in the Caribbean. When it's all said and done, will I wish I had bought a new sofa, or will I wish that I had spent time and built new experiences with the one I love most. No question.