Monday, December 1, 2008

Beyond the sea

We took a big family trip this past week--a cruise out of Florida, down to Belize and up the Mexican coast. It was awful and wonderful in the way that all cruises are.

Awful: terrible food in huge quantities, too many bodies in one space, too much flash and forced cheer, the first world/second/third world mash-up, the Tanzanite and Gold By The Inch and Diamonds International orgy. Sam's gradually degraded sleep habits.

Wonderful: Sam surrounded by three doting grandparents, three aunts, an uncle, and two cousins. Waking up every morning and saying, "Hey! Where are we today?" No one having to cook or do the dishes, your whole world narrowed down to one boat, giving up control and learning to drift. Sunshine.

It cured me of the pressing anxiety/depression that had settled in over the past few weeks. Was it just stress? Time to buy a light box? I don't know yet. I had a phone appointment with my old therapist before we left. She said, "I'm not surprised you're feeling this way. I knew your perfectionism was going to kick you in the ass."

So I have some thinking to do. I'm confident that I had a hand in making myself miserable this past month. I live in fear of dropping the ball, and there's just no slack in the system. If work is intense, I can't let it eat into my time with Sam. If Sam isn't sleeping, I can't let it show at work. It's a terrific act to try to pull this off. A great way to keep the psychotherapy economy afloat. So what gives?

No answer yet, but I do know one thing: Sam's a pretty good traveler. He was great on the flights, cheerful on the boat. It wore on him eventually, being so far outside his routine, and the last couple of bedtimes had both of us in tears. But we're back now and he just went to sleep with barely a whimper.

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