So, this post began sometime back in 2013. At our house, we do a little thing called “Spending Day.” Every other month, our kids are allowed to spend their allowance. They plan ahead and get to go purchase what they have been saving towards. Sara was great at saving, but never could quite find anything she wanted to spend her money on. She started saving towards some larger American Girl purchases, but once she got to 30 or 70 bucks she would then say…. “Wait a minute… I don’t want to spend 28 bucks on a Beach Chair, much less 85 dollars on a Sunset Sleepover Tent.”
So we suggested for her to save up for an experience or a trip of some kind. One thing led to another and she found out she could go on a 5 night cruise for 300 dollars. The girl was locked in. She was on a savings mission. Every other month, she would go on the spending trips with the family and watch her brothers purchase something. She would bank her money and move on with life. Some Spending Days were harder than others. But overall, she was super determined. We made a little chart to fill in for every dollar she saved, and after about a year and a half of extra jobs, birthdays, savings, and chocolate chip cookie sales, she had reached her goal!
Danielle was not interested in getting on a boat, so I was awarded the honor of being cruise parent. (Try not to feel to sad for me.) From the beginning, Danielle and I knew she would love it. It would be a trip she would remember and cherish forever: that one time she got to go one a week long cruise with her dad. I could already envision her coming home from college one Christmas as we sat around the fireplace and talked about it.
This was the first cruise for Sara and I so every little thing was a treat.
One of the things we both were looking forward to the most was free food. Anytime. All the time.
Boats are long.
Out favorite parts of the trip, were waking up each day and watching the sunrise on the ocean.
Sara very quickly realized, this was the life she was born to live.
Danielle was a little nervous that our diet over the course of the week might not be the healthiest. She may have been right to worry.
The boys were so sweet and surprised Sara with a lego set to build and play with while on the cruise. She was super giddy.
Mine. Mine. Mine.
Our stop in Progreso was a blast. Sara had her first experience with the fine art of haggling. She could not believe that the bracelet that she liked went from 35 dollars down to 11 in about 18 seconds.
Also in Progreso, Officially Licensed Disney products.
The ship had a spa where you could get a pedicure, manicure, eat ice cream, and look out on the ocean all at once. Sara would have been content to stay there the rest of the trip.
Wait… you can pick up the phone and they bring you free dessert 24 hours a day? Done and done.
I mentioned that Danielle was nervous about our meals. We decided to document everything we put into our mouths. We ate like kings and queens.
Remember that time that we went snorkeling in Cozumel and I found a super nice girl that braided Sara’s hair for me? Thank you sure nice girl from Dallas.
These are fish we never saw while snorkeling, but were given a photo of.
Our favorite times were really in the morning while most of the boat was sleeping. So quiet and peaceful.
Our best friend on the boat.
Of course Sara loved all the little towel animals. (I didn’t take a shower all week because she would not let me undo any of them.)
As we pulled back into Galveston Sara got her sad face on. He dream week was coming to an end.
Over the course of the week I realized something: I thought I was taking my little girl on the cruise. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I don’t have a little girl; I have a young lady. Sometime between 2005 and 2014, Sara has grown up. She was more mature than I realized. I was prepared to make dad jokes all week to make her laugh, but her wit and humor kept me in stitches. I was ready for her to miss being home, but her sense of adventure is what helped get me through the week. She didn’t really grow up over the course of the cruise; she has been growing up all along. But something about getting her away and alone, made me realize just how much of a young lady she is. Everyone who I spoke with before the trip just keep gushing over and over about how special it will be for her. Just how much she’ll remember it forever. How lucky it is that she’ll have these memories.
What I have since realized is that I’m the lucky one.
I’m the one who is treasuring that week.
I’m the one that will remember it forever.
I’m the one who will one day hold a grandkid in my lap and talk about that one time their mother took me on a cruise.
And, if I’m too old to remember the stories… I’ll turn on my vintage iPhone and show them this little movie.
The Cruise from Alex Maldonado on Vimeo.