When Traveling with my Parents Went Horribly…Awkward

This week, on Thursday, September 18, my parents will celebrate their 33-year-wedding anniversary. I decided to write a few posts to celebrate them and the love I’ve watched them share over the years. Hope you enjoy!

The following account that you are about to read is a (embarrassingly) true story. All names have been changed to the general nouns of ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ to protect the… guilty.

And here is where it begins:

The date was December 2009. The place was somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. My mom, dad, grandmother, and I were on our first cruise. I don’t recall how many days in we were of our trip or if we were headed to the Bahamas or making our way back home when the event occured. Those types of details escape me. What I do remember, however, is that fateful day that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to erase from my memory.

Our cruise began somewhat uneventful. The evening before leaving, I frantically reviewed the Carnival website and the documents that our travel agent had given us to make sure that we hadn’t missed any pertinent ‘to dos.’ We had. In our trips to the store to pick up last minute items and our over-the-top excitement, all of us had skipped over the little mention that each of our bags had to be properly tagged with a specific Carnival document. I stayed up half the night tagging each of our bags. I was half-heartedly thanked by my mom and dad for getting things in order, but was okay with that. The beautiful blue waters and food at my fingertips were to be my ‘thank yous’ for a job well done.

Stepping foot on the ship that next day was magical. The pictures that I flipped through during the weeks leading up to our departure were an exact replica of what I was finally seeing before my eyes: the gigantic staircase, the amazing pool area, the buffet area, the casino, the stores. It was great, and I couldn’t wait to explore it all. That’s exactly what we did.

Each morning, we would meet in the hallway outside of our rooms to go over our plans for the day, which usually started with breakfast in the buffet hall. Because single travelers are heavily discriminated against, price wise at least, I roomed with my grandmother, while my parent’s cabin was a few doors down from us. In the mornings, whoever was first to get up and ready would usually knock on the other person’s cabin door to alert them that it was time to go. Normal, right? Except when it’s not.

On one particular morning, my mother and I walked out of our cabins at the very same time. As I was making my way to her, a couple that was staying in the next-door cabin was also coming out. After a quick exchange of morning pleasantries, her neighbor made a statement that I, even 4 years later, wish that I could unhear. With a huge grin on her face, before continuing with her husband, she turned to my mother and said: “someone had a fun night.” Now, I can’t recall if these were her exact words. A child should never have to remember word for word what a stranger said about his/her parents in a sexual nature. NEVER! What is not so easy to forget is what followed next: without saying a word, my mother gave an oh, yes we did facial expression along with a laugh. I was floored. I was far away enough for my mom to believe that I hadn’t heard anything, yet close enough for her to suspect that I had. We never spoke of this moment.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason that, when it comes to traveling with my parents, I have one steadfast rule: I will not have a room anywhere near where they are. I need to be at least three doors away; heck, just put me on an entirely different floor. It only took one time for me to learn my lesson. I learned it, and sadly, I will never forget it.

Go ahead, get it off your chest. This is (somewhat of) a safe place to get those awkward moments you experienced while traveling with your parents. I look forward to reading them and joining in solidarity with your pain.

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