Should I Stay or Should I go?
Help, I need your advice. If you were in my shoes, what would you do?
I have recently received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from my parents in Florida. As it is on their bucket list in life to swim with the dolphins – they have made plans to visit Discovery Cove in Florida sometime in May for a scheduled swim. Swimming with dolphins is something that I have always wanted to do as well – because, well…it just seems like an amazing opportunity, right? And it has got to be more fun than swimming with children (especially ones that dont swim well yet).
Initially, they were going to go on this little excursion themselves. But, because my dad is an old fuddy duddy, who has no real inclination to get into swimming trunks and take the plunge into the pristine, aquamarine waters with a few loving dolphins, he has invited me to go along. This way, he could watch from the terrace, comfortably sitting in the shade, perhaps drinking a beer, and would in no way feel guilty about sending his wife to fulfill her dreams all by herself. Because I would be there, in the water – instead of him. (And yes, this would be okay with me).
As I talked to my kiddos about this little, amazing all-inclusive trip – they became sort of pissed off, to say the least. Obviously, they want to go. They want to go to Florida too, want to tap their toes in the same pool as a dolphin, and want to “share” in this experience. How dare I think about visiting MY parents, and do something FUN without them. The thing is, they aren’t invited.
My parents love their grandchildren, but they also love me. And sensing that I could probably use a two-day adventure sans children for the first time in over 15 years, they thought this would be a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience and adventure.
I want to go. But my kids are mad at me. Very mad. They are already mad simply because I am thinking about going. I haven't even confirmed my trip…and they are mad. And honestly, I would only be gone TWO DAYS!
They haven’t outright said it; but should I go, they will likely be pensive and silently resentful toward me for a very long time. I have tried to explain that this isn't about NOT being with them – but is about BEING with my parents. Honestly, my parents are getting older, and from one day to the next you never know how much time you have left with the people you love the most. Needless to say, they don’t get that. They just get that I want to take some amazing vacation without them.
Really, it's my fault. I have done little in their lifetime to show them that while we are a family, I am also a separate person from them. And I have always, 100% of the time, put their needs ahead of my own, and their wishes ahead of my dreams.
But I really, really, really (insert a little whining) want to find the courage and strength to go on this adventure. I want to do it for myself, and for my parents – and even a little for my kiddos, who might appreciate it more if I was away for two days.
But I am afraid to take the plunge, both literally and metaphorically, which only seems to further prove just how much I need this trip.