This is the first of my 3 articles that I wrote while on the cruise:
As I lay out on the deck in the Serenity Deck (a space of the deck reserved for 21 and up so that it is quieter and more relaxed) overlooking the wake of our ocean vessel, my eldest daughter is being escorted to her first year of college by my awesome parents.
They are also about to wage war with Irene, the hurricane that we left for them instead of our presence. For me, there couldn’t be any more fitting parallel than an historic hurricane.
For all of her 18 years of life, I have pushed against the current of culture to raise a godly, loving girl, with whom I have the most special relationship. I went into the teen years having heard mostly stories of dissension, embarrassment, and disagreements. I anticipated those years with dread – until we began that season of life, and I learned that I could expect my daughter (and the kids following) to mature without losing who she really is. Her teen years were by far the most rewarding, loving and special years of our relationship.
For all 15 years of her education, I have gone counter-culture and educated her at home. I have fought her insecurities and the voices that told her day in and day out that she wasn’t smart. I have wrestled with the doubts about whether or not I am her best teacher, and whether or not she will resent me for making a choice that would keep her from group sports and prom. I guess time will tell on whether or not she resents missing the cultural rites of passage found in the public school system, but I can report that she is attending college on a Presidential academic scholarship. She is a bright, thoughtful, and creative young lady.
For all of her teen years, I have fought against a media current that calls her to waste her time, that creates a false sense of connectivity with “friends” she barely knows, or that would cause her to stumble upon a torrent of information that is not helpful and potentially destructive. Maybe that sounds a little combative or paranoid. Maybe it is a little of both. However, the culture that we’ve developed in our home has been challenged at every turn, and sometimes feels like riding out a hurricane.
And now, as I sit and drink in the ocean air, sip on a virgin Pina Colata, and read an enticing book, I can’t help but find my mind journeying with my parents as they deal with my daughter’s fears and emotions, and with the sense of loss that is inevitable in the other kids.
Our cruise was re-routed from Bermuda to Cozumel, Mexico to avoid the path of the hurricane. It didn’t work very well. We left the port at Charleston, SC and for 24 hours, experienced waves that gave you a sense of weightlessness, non-stop. I was on a roller coaster ride for what seemed an eternity. Imagine repeating the anticipation and that floaty feeling that you get at the top of a roller coaster just as you’re descending the giant hill, and that is what I felt on a minute to minute basis. I fought well for the first 10 hours or so, but then my body gave in to the abhorrence of that feeling, and I spent the next 14 hours either laying in bed suffering, or throwing up.
(Barf bags temporarily put up to catch the effects of hurricane Irene. The picture is a little tipped, because it is impossible to take a good picture when the floor upon which you stand is rocking/swaying incessantly.)
Thankfully, my husband roused me from my sick bed (at which time I promptly threw up), got me to take a shower, and walked me to the deck. Historically, the deck is a better place to be for motion sickness. A friend gave me a dramamine (which really, really work, by the way), and we slowly moved further away from the effects of the hurricane. Between my husband getting me out of bed and serving me selflessly, the medicine I was lovingly given, and the ship getting further away from the crashing waves (some of which woke people up in their sleep because they sounded like luggage crashing or doors being slammed), I am happy to report that the moment on the Serenity Deck actually happened.
And yet my mind is in a gold minivan filled with people I love to the point it hurts, dropping off one of my most precious possessions. Wrestling with a real hurricane, and a figurative one all at once.