In less than 24 hours, my tween and I are supposed to leave for a 7-day cruise to Bermuda. We'll be sailing with my dearest friend and her 18-year old (whom my daughter idolizes). Our plans include lying by the pool with stacks of chick lit books, indulging at the midnight chocolate buffet, visiting the famous pink beaches, and dressing up for high tea at one of the island's fancy schmancy hotels.
"La dee dah."
I say "supposed to leave" because I'm not at all confident that the trip is going to happen. I haven't even begun to pack yet and the prospect is ... well ... daunting.
Have you ever noticed that the idea of "time off" is a little misleading? I find that you tend to smush two weeks of work into the week prior to the break; then you have to work doubly hard the week thereafter to catch up. So, with a little simple math, you're really doing four weeks worth of work in three. Granted, during the week in the middle you get to lie around on a beach towel with an umbrella in your drink. But, still. It hardly seems fair.
So, you might assume that I haven't started packing because I've been in pre-vacation work-my-tail-off mode. Indeed I have been, but, that's not the real reason. The four of us are sharing a tiny cabin and we agreed up front that we would pack light. Now, I'm stymied. How can I fit seven days and seven nights of cute cruise outfits into one little roller bag? How many shoes do I need? How many purses? Should I bring a hat? Am I really going to work out every morning? If so, I practically need an extra suitcase just for my size 10 sneakers.
I know, I know. These may seem like very silly questions and I may seem like a very silly woman. But, my concerns are real to me. My suitcase has been sitting — accusingly empty — in my bedroom for several days as I ponder.
In addition to my own packing, I have to tackle my daughter's. (I know from experience that letting her take care of it without me would be a mistake — we'd end up with 21 tee shirts and 2 pairs of shorts. Or vice versa.) But, that will be a piece of cake. After all, there will be 'less there there.'
Swimwear, for example. According to our itinerary, we're "at sea" three days. This will give the moms plenty of time to lie around with the aforementioned umbrella drinks. And, the girls will pretty much live in bikinis. Oh, maybe they'll pull on a pair of short shorts when it's time for lunch. My point is, there won't be a whole lot of fabric going on.
Compare this now to my poolside attire. My bathing suit (which, according to the tag is going to make me look "Slimtastic!") is much more, shall we say, substantial. Basically, you could take the fabric in twelve bikinis, sew it all together, then add some underwire and spandex, dye the whole thing black and you might get close. Plus, I need a sarong because no matter how slimming the suit is, it doesn't hide my thighs. And, I also have to have a long tee shirt dress for walking to and from the pool ... or over to the bar.
Or consider tops. The tween and teen will no doubt sport adorable tanks. Me? Not so much. These days, sleeves are a grownup girl's best friend. The same holds true for bottoms. While Abercrombie's shorts are short and getting shorter, I prefer Talbots' elegant capris. Again, that's just more fabric to pack. And finally, we have to plan for evening wear as well. We have invitations to the Captain's champagne reception. It's very exclusive — just the Captain and the four of us ... oh, and the other 2,800 guests. The girls will probably wear flimsy little sundresses. I'll be in black silk trousers and an embroidered jacket.
Do you see what I mean?
The fact is, 13- and 18-year olds can show a lot more skin than I can in my late 40s. They aren't self-conscious about their bodies and they shouldn't be. But, no matter how much yoga I do or how many Zumba classes I take, at this stage in my life I feel the need to cover up a bit.
It is what it is.
At my daughter's age less is more, and at mine more is necessary. (Puh-lease, don't get me started on how our cosmetic cases differ.) I just have to stop stressing and start packing. After all, this time tomorrow I'll be lying by the pool with three of my favorite people. And, assuming I can fit everything, I'll be there in my bathing suit, sarong and tee shirt dress.
Chances are, I can probably find a little extra room in my daughter's duffel.