An Open Letter to the Crew - THANK YOU
Like most families, my family excitedly awaited our day of departure. We booked our cruise and flight almost a year ahead of time.
My daydreams of sitting out on the balcony; sipping on a cup of coffee, listening to the ship cut its way through the sea, while reading a book is what fueled my days until I boarded your vassal.
My husband could not wait for Christmas morning to share his gift of a 7 day, New Year’s cruise with our daughters! The countdown calendar on his cell phone was a constant reminder that paradise was just months away.
The months withered away to weeks, weeks melted away to days, until finally Christmas morning arrived!
The excitement of Christmas cheer filled the air with an abundance of joy and gratitude.
And the anticipation of the trip was almost unbearable! For it was a much-needed vacation indeed.
We’ve been dreaming of this day:
The Caribbean Sea, blue water that sparkles when the sun hits it just right. The water is so clear that it is transparent. It’s brilliant, lovely, and radiant in every way.
White beaches that glisten like the snow of winter.
Palm trees swaying in the tropical, ocean breeze; … waving- as to welcoming us to Paradise.
And, houses that rest within the creases of the islands.
It’s breathtakingly beautiful!
I saw you standing there
My family, we gathered on Deck 15, which I renamed “Deck Ice Cream,” to play a few rounds of Go Fish. The dining hall was empty, as the dining crew was preparing for dinner. Most of the passengers have left, however, my family, we stayed seated at the bow of the ship to play cards and to watch the sunset.
We noticed you, you stood quietly in the window. Your arms were crossed in front of you, and occasionally you would brush your face with your fingertips.
You looked out over the opened sea as the sun set over the Caribbean Sea. I was watching it, too. The sun, it looked as though it was diving into the sea for a swim.
For a moment you looked lost in your own thoughts.
Being a military wife, I am all too familiar with that yearning feeling for the one[s] you love and miss. Until that evening on the ship, day 5, I had no idea that you crew members went such long periods of time out at sea.
What was a dream vacation to us is at times a heavy burden to you, I’m sure.
Some would say that it’s your job and it’s what you signed up for. However, that doesn’t excuse your love for home and family.
Like I said, I am all too familiar with that yearning feeling.
I wanted to walk over to you, wrap my arms around you and hold you in my arms. I wanted to loan you my shoulder to cry on.
I could see the loneliness in your eyes. A ship with over 4,000 passengers and 1000 crew members, and you’re lonesome.
I get it. I understand. I do. I really, really do.
I, too, have shared in periods of lonesomeness in a room full of people.
As a military wife deployments can be long. A year is a long time to miss someone. I had no idea that you’ve been on this ship for 4 months and that you still have 4 more months of sailing before you are home with your family.
I know this because we stopped another crew member. He was wiping down the tables behind us. My husband asked, “Hey man! How long before you’re home?” “Eight months is how long we are on this ship. Four more months to go.” he replied.
My heart sank into the pit of my stomach. My heart hurt for you in that moment.
Here we are laughing over our third round of Go Fish, and watching the sun go for a dip in the Caribbean Sea. We were lost ourselves, and in awe of the beauty surrounding us.
But, you- you were a mood changer.
Oh, believe me, I say this in the most respectful way.
Who were you thinking about?
Your children? Oh, your children, if you have children, they are watching that same sun set. Perhaps in a different timezone, however, all the same. The scenery may differ, but, the thoughts are the same. “I miss you and I love you.”
My family, we, have done the same thing.
During our nights of deployments we would look up to the starry skies and focus on the moon. It brought a great deal of comfort knowing that my husband was looking at that same moon; in the same sky, just set a different timezone. It was comforting to know that we shared the same focal point and thought about each other, praying for each other, and cried for each other.
Thank you. Thank you for making our New Year cruise an enjoyable one. Thank you for cleaning our stateroom, for making our beds, for washing our clothes, for serving our meals, and for washing our dishes.
Thank you for serving my family with a great attitude and a welcoming smile.
Thank you for making this tired mama feel like a queen for a week. Sometimes, it’s nice to be served. I’m so used to serving my family that I had to remind myself that it was okay for me to relax and to allow you to serve me.
Thank you for the “Washy Washy”. <haha>
It’s now my new phrase to remind my family to wash their hands. Our first few days home from our cruise, I left a bottle of Germ X at the door; and as my husband entered I would squirt an abundant amount into his hands while reciting you, “Washy Washy! Happy Happy!”
You sent us home with great memories.
Thank you for the extra coffee and chocolate in our stateroom.
Thank you for not interrupting me when you caught me reading.
My husband was getting a massage, and I just wanted to sit quietly and read. I would have gotten a massage, however, I’m too ticklish. We would have both been laughing out loud by the end of my session.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed my time at the stern of the ship and the cup of water with orange slices that you prepared for me.
Thank you for sacrificing your time away from your family to be with mine.
We are so grateful for you, and we appreciate everyone of you.
From the bottom of our hearts-
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.
Thank you for serving my family out at sea.
I appreciate your time in reading my thoughts. If you enjoyed your time here with me, please, click the 💚, so that others might find me as well.
Please, feel free to share. ~Jamie King Clark