Monday, May 9, 2011

The Dots

I don't even know how to summarize our cruise experience and adequately communicate how good it was. Sandra and I got together on Saturday night (just a short 5 hours after we arrived home) to debrief. Talk about it. Dissect details. Ponder and plan. Relive.

You see, it ended up being so much more fun than either of us imaged. (And can I say something here? I am not a pursuer of "fun" by nature. I tend to plan for 'meaningful occasions' and I love deep conversations. Doing things just for fun seems shallow and frivolous at times, no? So it is very good for me that God brought some fun-seeking friends into my life just when I needed to lighten up. And while I still don't 'plan to laugh' - I'm always thrilled when it happens.) And it happened. Alot of laughter on that ship.

And the catalyst that set off a chain of events?
A polka-dotted scarf.
Sandra and I thought it'd be fun to give our cruise-mates each a 50th Birthday Party goodie bag before we went on board - with each person receiving a scarf, a purse and some sunglasses. We asked everyone to wear them on our travel day so that we could take a group shot at the Port of San Diego on our first day.

We did not anticipate that our friends would embrace the idea and wear the scarf everyday. Nor did we expect our friends to hang around together, in large groups, joining in on cruise ship activities with as much enthusiasm as they did. Nor did we expect that we would eat more than one meal per day together. (Nor did we expect to eat more than one entree at each meal either. Or three apetizers. Or four desserts.)

And we really didn't have any idea in advance how much of a buzz we'd create on that ship with our dotted scarves. Seriously.

For someone who doesn't actively seek to be the centre of attention, I spent alot of time there last week. I was one of The Dots, we were famous. Like Oprah. Sue noted it brilliantly when she said, that just by wearing those scarves we were inviting people to talk to us. We were opening ourselves up to public scrutiny. We were giving people permission to ask us what the scarves meant. And why were we wearing them...

Brenda was on her way to the library with her book one afternoon. As she walked through the Lido deck on her way to the elevator she heard, "Oh, look. There goes a Dot. She has a book. They read too!"

I went looking for everyone at around 11 pm; the Disco was my first stop. "Oh, here comes a Dot. The others must be close behind. Yay. Now we can get this dance started..."

We walked into the Piano Bar to sing along; the entertainer noted, "Ah, here come the Dots. Welcome gals..."

We played Bingo; the caller said, "I see the Dots are here. Where can I get one of those scarves?"

The lounge singer watched us walk into her theater, "Hey! The Dots are back! These gals sang karaoke last night..."

It was something.

Seriously. It was something.

Not sure what that was, but it was fun to be apart of it. Like, I belonged to the cool girls club. And when you're on a boat filled with mostly senior citizens, it's pretty easy to feel good about yourself. But add all this attention BECAUSE OF A SCARF and wow. It felt good.

Sandra thought that because so many guests on that sailing were from Vancouver, there was achance that someone knew someone who knew someone and would talk about the Dots from their cruise. And it happened just like that. Someone worked with someone who was on the cruise and they talked about these Dots that were on the ship. And because of facebook, someone #1 said, " I know who was one of those Dots! I just saw pics on facebook!" And just like that *snaps fingers, the world gets small and intimate.

So anyway. It was fun. We laughed. Sang. Ate. Danced. Slept. Sang. Played bingo. Danced some more. Ate alot more. Talked. Watched shows. And wore our scarves.

While Sandra and I were planning this floating 50th birthday party a year ago, we prayed that God would oversee the guest list for us. We invited anyone/everyone we thought might like to join us, and trusted that God would make sure those that needed to be on the boat would be there. And then I prayed that our presence on that ship would be blessing to other guests and that He would use our party for His purposes.

I'm not sure what He had in mind for us, but one thing I do know we did for sure - was take the gloom and doom out of aging. We demonstrated that 50 isn't old. And that female friendships are fun. And that laughter is good. And that women, from all walks of life, of varying ages, from different denominations, different educational backgrounds, women with varying degrees of pain in their past and present, with vastly different life experiences - CAN BE FRIENDS.

And for that, I am thankful. Thankful that everyone was open to sharing vacation time with someone they hadn't met before. Everyone who came was kind. Encouraging. Sensitive to others. Everyone who came kept an eye out for other Dots. Was patient when answering, for the 48th time what the scarves meant. Thankful that everyone was up to trying something. I am thankful. For friends.

Thanks, Sandra, for agreeing to share your birthday party with me. Thanks for your friendship, your lightness of being, your faith, your encouragement. And thanks, Dots, for helping us celebrate our big one. It was a special birthday. And you are all special people: Terry, Myrna, Rose, Shelly, Trish, Stacy, Maureen, Chris, Sue, Karen, Kaitlynn, Carolyn, Sandra, Brenda, Brita...

Three things I am thankful for:
1. It was Mother's Day today. I am so very thankful for my mom. Oh my goodness. There's no one who loves me like she does. No one who believes in me as strongly as she does. No one who listens as intently as she does. I am blessed. Thanks mom, for sharing my highs and lows with me. Thanks for praying for me and my kids. Thanks for loving me.

2. It was Mother's Day today. I am thankful that I am a mom. And that I have three sons. And that those three sons - are my tickets to getting DAUGHTERS. I can hardly wait.

3. I am thankful for Facebook. If you want to see some pics of our holiday, check this out.



Anonymous said...

This is the blog I have been waiting for. So wish I could have been there too, but so very thrilled you had such a fantastic time. I had a client tell me that her 50's were her best years, so the best is yet to come, and what a great way to start it off.
Happy Birthday

Anonymous said...

Oh Jane. Wonderful summary. It wasn't just a moist eye summary, but a 3 Kleenex read. THANKS!!!