We had a family vacation booked to Mexico for Christmas of ‘08. We also had another family that would be travelling with us. This trip was all booked pre”I am done” conversation. Actually, I am not really sure the “I am done” conversation could be classified as a conversation. Anyway… the trip.
We were taking the kids to a resort smack dab right in between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. The ex and I had been there on a business trip once before. It was gorgeous. And on the Mayan Riviera. It was a beautiful resort; sandy beaches, lots of choices of restaurants, great service, pools or ocean to swim in and activities for all ages. We had been away a couple times for Christmas at this point and quite frankly, I loved it. No hustle and bustle of trying to visit everyone over the holidays. No cooking an enormous meal that took all day to cook and what seemed like minutes to eat. No buying tons of gifts. No worries.
The family that was coming with us, we had known for quite some time. The ex and him got along. Her and I got along. The kids all got along. We just all got along. So after it was made public that I was leaving, the other couple had concerns this trip might be more than they bargained for. I was sitting at a pub with some other friends one night when I was approached by the husband. “Can I talk to you for a min?”. “Sure thing”. We wandered outside the pub and he started with the customary, I don’t want to make this awkward but… He was concerned that this trip might be awkward; for everyone. Nope. I wasn’t gonna let that happen. This was more than just about me. This was about my kids, my ex, the other family, Christmas. I assured him that the ex and I had discussed this. It would be ok. I promise!
And the ex and I had discussed this trip. “I won’t go” was my answer when it came up. “But everything is paid for” was his response. Keep in mind that I believe he was still in the denial phase of this marriage ending. Interesting thing I learned about divorce. The leaver is usually at least a couple years ahead of the leavee. So I had already gone through the denial and angry phase (in a manner of speaking). He was hit upside the head with my news I wanted out of the marriage. He was playing catch up (yes, this was all according to my therapist and numerous articles I had read on the subject). But for this trip we agreed we could and would act like mature adults.
We had 3 rooms booked at the resort as we had 4 kids and 2 adults in our family. Well that is by MY calculations! According to the resort, we had 4 adults and 2 children. Anyway, 3 rooms eliminated the ex and I having to share a room. I don’t remember the exact configuration of who stayed in what room but we made it work. No, the rooms were not on opposite sides of the resort. No, we didn’t have a schedule as to which one of us could be where at which time. No, we didn’t use the kids as messengers to pass along messages to each other. We just got along. It just worked. Actually, we had fun!
So for 9 days, we pretended we were the happy family. To be honest with you, I think for 9 days we were the happy family. No stress, no worries, no me packing to move to a different house.
As I sit here searching my memory to try and see if there was even a hint that I thought maybe this marriage could work in that happy time while we were all getting along, I don’t think I did. I don’t believe that as we sat and had dinner as a family, or went for walks on the beach as a family, or any sightseeing we did, yes, as a family, the thought never entered my mind I was making a mistake leaving all this. I had made up my mind and I knew it was the right thing to do. Funny, but my ex use to ask me how I did it. How did I just turn the page on whatever was happening in my life and move on? He actually asked me that as I was moving out. I tried to explain that I had dealt with all the feelings. I had hashed it out in my brain. I figure out what I need to do then I just do it. It really makes no sense to me to go over and over and over something. Figure it out. Then do it. Anyway, back to the trip…
That trip really does hold a lot of wonderful memories for me. The kids had a blast. Right from the oldest one having one too many Alabama Slammers (I believe we were calling them Blue Motherfuckers) and needing the golf cart to get her back up to our room after she stubbed her toe and ripped it open, to the younger one living in her bathing suit the entire time! Yes, even for dinner. We discovered that the second oldest can sing. I mean really sing. We tried to talk him out of doing a little number on Karaoke night, but he insisted. So we let him go, hoping he wouldn’t embarrass himself too much. But he sure showed us! (It was the oldest and I that embarrassed ourselves on Karaoke night). We also discovered that the third was a fish! I honestly don’t think that kid came out of the water the entire time we were in Mexico. “Where’s Mason?” “Have you checked the ocean or the pool?” “Oh…. Found him!”
It was a wonderful last all-6-of-us-together family vacation with tons of memories to smile back on.
Yes, I knew that I had a lot to do when we got back. I was moving into my rental on January 1st. I was starting the next phase of my journey. But at the time, at least I don’t remember that I did, I did not think about all that work waiting. As I sit here reminiscing about that trip… I realize one thing. It was most definitely the calm before the storm. The tide would change not long after that trip and it was about to get a whole lot more rocky!