This trip was already planned, so we merely needed to say yea, or nay. We are so happy we said yea!
We first flew into Seattle. We love it there, and were looking forward to spending whatever time we had downtown. We didn't even get on the boat before hopping a cab. We just passed our bags off and said goodbye to our family.
We walked all over Pike Place Market. I was backing up for this picture and then heard Dave,
Jen! Stop, stop!
Dave: You're about to run into the news crew!
Yep, they were filming a story, and I almost backed right into them. Apparently, it's the quintessential picture of Pike Place Market. Prior, I couldn't remember the exact word order, so I searched. Was it Pike's Place, or Pike Place Fish Market, or Pike Place Where the Fish Fly, or Pike - The Place Anyone Can Smoke Pot in the Park and...Interesting, They Turn a Blind Eye, Pike's! The Best Flowers in the World for the Most Outrageously Low Prices, Pike's! We SOOO Badly Wanted One Millllion Tiny Donuts and a Side of Hot Cider, but Were Going to Lunch So We Had to Pass on Everything, Pike's - I Luh You Pike's, and wouldn't you know it...look at this picture.
This was the highlight of our trip. Yep, there you have it!
For all you Starbuck's lovers. Here's the very first one.
We walked all over, as we waited. We were meeting our Uncle John for lunch. The rest of the family met us towards the end of lunch. They live pretty close to Seattle, so every time we're up that way, we love to see them.
The trip was a cruise, which included four stops. A cruise was suggested to us for our honeymoon, and while at the time we didn't think we would enjoy that type of vacation, we finally agreed. To make a long story very short, we missed our boat, and had to catch it in Jamaica. It ended up being the best thing that could've happened. We were quite stir crazy on the boat. Once home, I spoke with the travel agent and, with no other exception, they offered us a free cruise. We took it the following year and felt the same. At the time, we decided we must be of the land vacation variety, and prefer to see one place more thoroughly.
That was 13 years ago though, and we are completely different people, so we thought we'd give it another whirl. We also agreed that Alaska was a good choice to try it again with.
The days at sea always seemed most difficult for us. We were grateful to have our family. It was nice because we would come together, yet break off as we chose.
The first day at sea was Mother's Day. I was really happy we were going to be away, yet together on this day. I woke up that morning and couldn't stop thinking about Aviana. At that moment, I wondered where in the world she was. In the early morning Mother's Day haze of it all, I was lead to a place of not caring about all the reasons why it is the way it is. I continued on to the place I try rarely to go - the place that's useless and painful, yet also at times feels good and imaginary. I went to where all was right. I didn't turn back. Nor did I want to. Not this time. I stayed for a while. I let it all in.
She was with us. On our trip. Whole. Unharmed. Unaffected. In my imaginary world nothing ever happened to her, to them, to us. I could see her, feel her, smell her. She was charming every passerby. She was playing, dancing. I could see every movement of her hands and fingers. The swaying of her limbs. She was twirling, skipping, splashing. I watched as she moved her head, her mouth - talking, singing, even crying. But as she used to the majority of the time - she was smiling. She was a part of every one of our exciting plans for the week. She was on Dave's shoulders. She was between Roger and Rella - holding each of their hands. She was eating - as she so loved - and to her heart's delight. Most of all, I had visions of my mom, Gary, and Aviana. These images were as clear as five years ago. I saw and felt the all too familiar glow. The one, which burned brightly from deep inside and created a bubble all the way around the three of them.
She was tangible, real, healthy. She was 7 - and that morning - she was beaming as she proudly handed her favorite person her gift and said, "Happy Mother's Day Nana! I love you!"
I rarely go so far, but that morning I did. When I do, the same thing usually happens, and happened it did. I came crashing down in a cascade of tears. Thank God for Dave. I am eternally grateful for him, and my family. We're our own little secret service, a huddle of people who intimately understand the intricacies and delicacies with a word, or even without. Interestingly, my mom started her day in a similar way. I suppose it was necessary. By the time we came together, we were good. It helps to have each other.
I have loved greatly, and lost dearly. But in losing, I have gained tremendously. I have Aviana to thank for showing me how to endure absolute hardship, but in turn, appreciate every day blessings that much more. I have her to thank for showing me how to enjoy the life I've been gifted and truly love the people who make every day worth everything.
I have her to thank...
I have her to thank...
I have you to thank...
I love you Aviana.