It was a little over eleven years ago. Eric and I had gotten married, but we were not able to go on our honeymoon immediately following the wedding because Eric was only given one day of leave from the ARMY to get married. Just enough time to attend the wedding and then report back to duty. And then, after our first few weeks of marriage, he was given a 45 day field deployment. So we had to keep postponing our honeymoon. We had it all planned though. Or, more accurately, Eric had it all planned. He loved camping. His family had camped his entire life, and he had many wonderful memories of the time spent camping. From tent camping to RV camping to climbing a mountain and setting up camp on a glacier, he had loved it all.
Then there was me. I on the other hand had never spent a day in my life inside a tent. Our family vacations existed of staying in a hotel on the beach. Or a trip to Washington D.C. I’m not sure my parents even owned a tent. But I was young, head-over-heels in love and ready to embrace the world of camping.
So almost two months after we were married, we loaded up Eric’s truck with all his camping nesascaties. Air mattress, camp stove, food, and whatever else was deemed needed for the trip. His truck had a large canopy on the back, so the plan was to put the air mattress in the bed of the truck and then sleep inside the canopy. No tent even needed! So trip mapped out, truck packed, we started on our adventure.
Now there were two things that Eric did not take into account for our honeymoon. First, it was November and we were leaving NC and driving up to Canada and back, hitting all the New England States. And second, I was already pregnant with Laura, but had not figured that out yet. November in the northeast is cold. Very, Very cold. And the back of his truck had no heat. And we were still not very comfortable even sharing a bed with each other, let alone snuggling up for warmth. So this created a some what awkward situation at night when we were both freezing to death. And then I started feeling sick. Nauseous. My stomach would hurt from the time we woke up until we went to bed. And then all night long. But, never being pregnant before, the thought never once crossed either of our minds. We just thought I must have the flu or some other bug.
We made it up to Canada. Stopped and camped at Niagara Falls. Spent a few days driving around Canada. I remember the foliage was beautiful. Bright, vivid leaves on all the trees, just at the end of their season. In the mornings we would wake up to a frost covering the ground. Eric would always make hot chocolate, which I often would throw up. Then we headed back to the states and stopped at Bar Harbor, Main. It was the last day of their “tourist season”. The little town would be closing up shop for the winter. We decided to stay at a Bed and Breakfast, which was a wonderful change from the freezing truck. And then their was the highlight of the whole trip. Eric had planned this stop from the beginning, because I professed to love lobster. And I did. Or at least the frozen stuff you buy at the grocery store. But he was going to buy me a “real” lobster dinner. So we asked around for the best place to eat lobster, made our reservations, and sat down with great expectations. Now let me explain a few things. First, these were lobster that had been caught that day. So we are talking the freshest you can get. Second, they serve you the WHOLE lobster. Not just the little tail that i was used to. Intestines, head, even the eggs inside the female, which we were informed was a deliquesce. And third, I was still pregnant, so smells, tastes, and textures were now all greatly intensified. (But still no clue there was a baby on board).
So after being served my huge lobster dinner, Eric could hardly wait for me to try it. I did. And then I thought I was going to throw up. It tasted awful. It looked awful. I was suppose to eat what??? The females eggs??? NO WAY!!! Eric looked crushed. I couldn’t explain to him why it tasted so bad. But it did. Nothing like that frozen tail from the grocery store. And it’s beady little eyes kept staring at me. It didn’t really even look dead. It still had the rubber bands on the pinchers. I could barely breath, it smelled so awful. And there was no way I could even pretend to like it. The funny thing too was that Eric can’t stand most seafood. So this dinner was all about me. He would have been much happier at a steak house than a lobster house! To this day, we love to laugh about our “Lobster Night”. Someday, when I am not pregnant, I want to give it another try.
After our night in Maine, we hopped back in the truck and headed to New York City. But, I was feeling sicker by the day, so Eric decided it would be best to just head home. We had cut our trip in half, but I was not enjoying myself, and hence not very much fun to be on a road trip with. As soon as we got home, Eric was sent off on another deployment and I found myself curled up in bed, thinking I had the worst flu of my life. A girlfriend stopped in to say hi, and when she found me looking like the life had been sucked out of me, she quickly put me in her car and drove me to the ARMY Clinic. It was only a few hours before I was informed that I was with child. The worst part of the whole situation was that Eric wouldn’t be home for a month. But thanks to my amazing girlfriend, she helped me figure out this new medical system that I had just been thrown into, and get the care that I needed to survive the next month until Eric got back and could take over from there.
I have never, ever had any regrets of our Honeymoon. It was what we could afford. It was where we were at, being employed by the ARMY. It was a trip that Eric had put a lot of time into and was so excited to share this new adventure with me. It just wasn’t the best timing. But we had not a clue that I would be pregnant or how severely sick I would end up being with each of my pregnancies. We also didn’t really think about the whole weather thing. About how it gets really cold. And no matter how madly you are in love with each other, you can still freeze to death in the back of a truck!
So that’s how I remember our honeymoon. Then, about three months ago, Eric told me he was taking me on a cruise. He told me how he had promised me all those years ago, one of those days while I was so sick on our trip that I clearly could not remember a thing, that he would take me on a “Real Honeymoon”. He had wanted to at the time we were married. But couldn’t because of finances and work. But I honestly never remember him ever making that promise. But he remembered. Eleven years, six almost seven children, fifteen moves, three degrees, and everything else in between that life threw our way, he still remembered. As soon as he graduated and started working, he had started saving for this trip. He had planned a “Second Honeymoon” for us, a Western Caribbean Cruise, and I had no clue. His whole staff even knew and were so excited for me. Nine whole days, just the two of us! (Well ,three if you count little one.) So when he told me his plans I was speechless. So speechless, that he thought maybe I was upset. I never in a million years would have ever guessed this surprise. But I am so excited. I am even more head over-heels in love today with the man I married eleven years ago than I was on the day I promised to spend the rest of my life by his side. And I think this trip will be a hundred times more fun than if we had gone immediately following our wedding. We are so much more in love now than we were when we started this journey together. We have shared heartache and we have celebrated life together. Time over time, year after year. We have built a relationship that goes so much deeper than the love-struck awe we were in on our wedding day. We have laughed and cried together. We have watched our children grow. We have watched each other grow. And so now, getting to spend nine days with the most important person in this world to me, just because he loves me and remembered a very long ago promise, is the best thing a girl can think of!!!