Two weeks ago, my parents, siblings, and our respective families boarded a cruise ship bound for Alaska. I hadn't been on a vacation with my entire family in 15 years and had no idea how the trip would go. We joked about how someone would likely end up overboard—and my dad sternly instructed all of us to "leave our B.S. at home."
We were celebrating my parents' 50th year of marriage and everyone needed to be on good behavior. No fighting. No whining. Just 11 days of family fun and togetherness.
I think it sort of came as a surprise to all of us that everything worked our perfectly. Everyone got along and had such a great time that we started talking about when and where we might take our next family trip.
I think some of the success might be attributed to the fact that the adults played Cards Against Humanity (AKA "a party game for horrible people") a couple of nights. You haven't lived until you've heard your 70-ish-year-old parents hysterically utter phrases like "concealing a boner" and "doin' it in the butt." Sorry, I know this is a PG-13 blog...at least I didn't post the videos I took while we played...
Those games brought us to tears, but there were plenty more highlights from the trip:
- Watching my dad belt it out at 50's music trivia night—and learn how to do the hand jive
- Getting forced into a hula hooping contest in front of about a hundred people
- Having a couple's massage with my oldest niece (they were too booked up to take us separately) and getting beat up by a tiny masseuse—she literally punched the bottom of my feet
- Catching Mr. W taking pictures from the balcony one night wearing nothing but his camera
- Falling in freezing lake water while trying to walk to Nugget Falls at the Mendenhall Glacier
- Hearing about my sister's toilet beginning to overflow (with clean water) while she was sitting on it
- Seeing my brother order a double serving of the same dessert every single night
- Making friends with a Canadian couple and an ACDC roadie in the jacuzzi
- Cruising through Glacier Bay while the Margerie Glacier was "calving" huge chunks of ice
- Walking around Ketchikan in 86° weather while the rest of the family zipped through the city in golf carts
- King crab legs in Juneau, fish and chips in Ketchikan, and lobster on formal night
- Drinking a bottle of Sea Smoke pinot
- Listening to the audio version of Unbroken on our drive to San Francisco and reading The Signature of All Things on the trip (I highly recommend both)
- Seeing salmon jumping out of the water, a group of harbor seals playing, and a few spouts from nearby whales
- Watching the sea planes take off and land—Mr. W even took a ride in one
- Sunlight until 11:00 p.m. and rain-free weather most days
- Running in to various family members on and off the ship like we were small town neighbors
- Working out and walking long stretches nearly every day, but still coming home 6lbs heavier
I haven't yet gotten my land legs back. My equilibrium is still a little out of whack. But the great memories are perfectly intact and the scheming for our next family trip is just beginning.