Change in summer plans and mom guilt

Last fall, my mom came across a great deal for a Bahamas cruise with a few extra/added days at an Orlando hotel. We thought this would be the perfect choice for this summer’s family vacation and we booked it for the four of us. Cruise AND a few days at Orlando parks with the kiddos? Fabulous!

We kept it a secret until Christmas morning, at which time the kids unwrapped an inflatable cruise ship and captains hats to unveil the “big surprise.” It was a hit! Kids were excited and talking non-stop about sleeping on a ship and going to the Bahamas.

Inflatable ship? Check. Captain hats? Check. Christmas cruise surprise.

Inflatable ship? Check. Captain hats? Check. Christmas cruise surprise.

The next day, I received word that I had breast cancer.

I (kinda) knew then that being on a ship this summer was not going to work. I didn’t know my treatment plan yet – hell, hadn’t met with docs yet – but regardless, being on a ship right after surgery or with lowered immunity from chemo was probably not a good idea. Still I couldn’t bring myself to say anything to the kids when they rattled on and on about their big summer vacation. I would change the subject or redirect the conversation to something else, but it killed me that I would eventually have to crush their summer vacation dreams.

This weekend, I just couldn’t keep it up anymore. Ethan started asking really pointed questions: when are we going? How are we getting there? How long on the boat? Can he see pictures of the ship?

“We probably need to talk, buddy,” I said to him over lunch on Sunday as he peppered me with questions. “I can’t be on a ship this summer, so we’re going to have to change things a bit.”

I explained the lower immunity I’ll experience between chemo and surgery this summer, and how being confined on a ship could compromise my health – and could delay the rest of my treatment plans if I get sick.

“But grandma and Mr. B and I have been talking about an alternative,” I said. “What if Mr. B and the girls went on vacation with us? Somewhere else? Not on a ship.”

Ethan seemed to take the news okay. He’s disappointed that he won’t be on a cruise ship this summer, and that he won’t be going to Florida or seeing an ocean. But he also understands that breast cancer isn’t something we signed up for, that we just have to deal with the cards we’re dealt.

So summer plans will be a couple of smaller trips – a roadtrip wth B and the girls (and my mom) to a southern Indiana amusement wonderland, camp for a week, boating on the river with my uncle, maybe a waterpark visit here or there.

It isn’t what I wanted or what I planned, but it is what it is. I hope the following summer to make it up to the kids. I feel a ton of mom guilt with giving them a cruise then taking it away because I’m sick. Hell, these kiddos have been through so much I just hate disappointing them – even if they seem to “get it.”

The last two summer vacations involved a beach front condo on the Gulf Coast. Making memories...

The last two summer vacations involved a beach front condo on the Gulf Coast. Making memories…

3 thoughts on “Change in summer plans and mom guilt

  1. Mom guilt is hard on the best and easiest of days. On the Mom Pride side (hmmm – what IS the opposite of Mom Guilt?), you are healthy enough to go on a trip with them and to enjoy that time together. I know E is disappointed for now about the cruise – but being with you is what he’ll cherish the most.

  2. Gotta love that Ethan, wise beyond his years–he is disappointed, but he is thinking of alternatives on his own…..he impresses me every day. I am getting a bit teary, as you know I have a special spot for Ethan–he is such a special young man. He just wants what is best for you, and seems to realize that while it is not the cruise right now, there will be a time when it is going to be right for all of you. Try not to let your guilt get the better of you—your kids have been dealt a few bad hands, but they are strong, and you have done an incredible job with them. Instead, think of how exceptional those two kids are and keep your mind on your future cruise and all the fun you will have! HUGS, my friend 🙂

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