Six months ago when The Husband, The Little Bro, The Ying to his Yang and Yours Truly were faced with my parents approaching 50th wedding anniversary, we were truly stumped on a method of celebration. The folks had made it pretty clear that a big shindig was out of the question, (actually they were so outwardly forceful in their dissent that I feared for my very safety) and that whatever plans we made had to take place in The Southern Home because they had absolutely no intentions of returning to Toronto in December! When I suggested a family cruise I was met with an extremely tepid response. School schedules would never mesh, I was told. Fun in the sun is not everybody's idea of a vacation. Nevertheless I was charged with investigating and, with immense help from my dear friend The Choir Director,(she only moonlights as a travel agent!) we found a cruise that would allow all to travel at the same time with minimal school absences. It was time to ask Mom and Dad how they felt about it.
Mom: Other Parents too?
Mom: Sister/Cousin and her family and Brother/Cousin and his?
Me: As long as the are willing they are welcome!
Before I had even hung up the phone, Sister/Cousin called and said that she and her brood were in. I still maintain that she was listening in on a party line! It took some doing but by the end of October, 23 of us were booked. Yesterday, we arrived at the port-wearing matching t-shirts to thoroughly embarrass my parents-and checked in for a week long stay aboard The Carnival Freedom. It is impossible for 23 Jews to agree on what colour the sky is let alone on what constitutes fun, but we will manage! We have two large tables in the dining room and believe it or not, we are not the noisiest nor are we the most obnoxious in spite of my father's constant efforts to the contrary. So far there is something for everybody.
What has been truly amazing to me is the constant ebb and flow of conversations. The kids have become rather spread out lately due to university commitments, and some haven't been in the same city for over 2 years. Watching them all interact and reconnect has been my favorite part of this experience so far. It really doesn't matter if the food is great or if the shows are cheesy, what really matters is that we are all together celebrating for Mom and Dad!
I will attempt to update a few times throughout the trip. In the meantime, pray for us that we survive the "family experience of a lifetime!!"