Ever had an idea take root in your brain and just not let go? I mean really not let go? When I was relaying such an idea to my daughter and it reduced me to tears I knew it was more than an idea. It was a bona fide gotta do no matter what thing. Let me back up….
There are people who come into your life and you know they are meant to be there always. You may not see them every day. You may not see them every year. But they are ingrained in the fabric of your life and you miss them. Sometimes more fiercely than others.
In my life, one of those people is this sweet lady. We met Annamaria on our Carnival Vista Thanksgiving cruise in 2017. My soul was in fresh hell from losing Fred. She made me smile and laugh that cruise – turned it into a normal Thanksgiving vacation for us. Just helped me escape reality.
We flew to New York for my 40th birthday in July 2018 to join her on the Carnival Horizon. (And to check off a bucket list first trip to NYC!) It was like not a minute had passed! That trip remains one of the most epic in all 17 of my sailings. We made so many friends. Annamaria added Zoran to my list of favorite Alchemists and we partied until closing every night. Hell of a way to ring in a milestone birthday.
I didn’t get to see Anna again until a late Feb/early March trip in California on the Carnival Panorama two weeks before COVID started. A prophetic trip in so many ways. My first cruise “out of season” for me. I’m a summer and Thanksgiving cruise gal. My first cruise without at least one of the kids. I went into it thinking life was finally looking up and came off the ship with the bottom pulled out of my world.
What has followed has been 18 months of moments of pure hell. Grieving that I delayed for four years. Self discovery. Growth. Figuring out who I am when I put myself first. That I get to come first! 90 lbs gone off my body. And through it all Anna has checked on me. And Em. Did I mention she adores Em? Despite being stuck at home due to COVID she got presents to both my youngest kids to celebrate their COVID warped graduations spring of 2020. This picture below was from our day in Puerto Vallarta where she got to get off the ship. Shots of Jagger (her favorite) while we walked around and lively lunch.
Now back to the idea….
What is happening today is a celebration of all that has been gained in the last 18 months. Strength. Independence. Freedom. Friendship. Relationships that last despite distance, disease, or time. I am rewarding myself with 8 days of sunshine, my precious ocean, island time, and a bar stool at my favorite bar. Celebrating strength Fred knew I had but I didn’t. Celebrating my next chapter and closing the last one (can I nail that one shut?). Celebrating that God gave me life and it’s not mine to squander or let anyone take away from me.
I am embarking on my first solo vacation ever. I get to knock this one off the bucket list. I am equal parts crazy scared and excited. But even more exhilarating is I am headed to see Anna. She has NO idea. It’s a total surprise. Her sweet hubby knows. Has known for weeks. I have no idea how he has kept it from her. Truthfully I have no idea how I have kept it from her or the world. Em thought I would crack weeks ago. I think the only way I have kept it has been to just not think or talk about the trip. 8 days of smiles, laughter, and reconnecting with my sweet friend sounds like pure heaven to me. 🙂
My message today is this. Life is short. Embrace those that love you even on your worst day and let the others kiss your ass. “Seas” the day and do the things you love that bring you joy. We only get one life and it’s too damn short to let anyone or anything make you unhappy. It may sound like a bunch of trite sayings…but it’s better to live life with the wind in your hair and a smile on your face than live with regrets.
Now I gotta go get my Vitamin Sea! – Amy