Sheesh, after all the planning and prepping and packing and organizing, I need a vacation!

Oh, wait . . .

Can I come too?

Yay!  I am going on vacation! This isn’t going to be any vacation, either, but a vacation of a lifetime.  Both daughters graduated from college this year and have planned a trip to Europe as a celebration for years.

Hubby and I are tagging along (partly due to a generous gift from Other Brother and partly because I’m having a difficult time coming to terms with the girls growing up!).  Yes, I plan to follow them around wherever they go throughout their life (shhh, don’t tell them my plan!).

The vacation looks a little different for all of us (they left before we did and one daughter and her boyfriend are staying longer than the rest of us) but we meet up in Rome and will all be together for a few days touring the sites and drinking some wine and then will board a giant ship for a seven day cruise to France, Spain and other parts of Italy.

I guess I should have paid attention in French class or taken Italian!  Well, let’s see, I know “Ciao” and “Vino.”  I better learn “please,” “thank you” and “where the heck is the bathroom?”  I’ve been practicing a few words but I can’t seem to get the accent down and end up stumbling over the words and sounding exactly like some American who doesn’t know the language.

I better stick to drinking wine and not talking.

Vacation prep has been going on for months.  Aside from actually planning the vacation and transportation and tours (not to mention preparing for my absence at work), I have to be sure Robert is aware we will be gone and is well-stocked with his supplies.  His care facility and Day Program have been notified I will be gone and given contact information for Other Brother in case of an emergency.  They have been warned Robert may get grumpy because his routine of visiting us is being disrupted.

I had to tell Robert a few times that we would be leaving and when we would be gone.  I also wrote it on all of his calendars so he will be reminded when he looks at the calendar.  If he happens to call my office (which happens frequently) then my best friend will talk to him and remind him I’m gone for a while and will offer to take care of whatever he may need.

It’s been an ongoing battle to keep guilt at bay, especially since Robert’s birthday falls while we are away.  Don’t think this didn’t escape his attention – when I first told Robert when I would be on vacation he was quiet for a while and then said, “That’s during my birthday.”

Yep.  He can’t remember what year it is or the name of the president or what he had for lunch but he certainly knows when his birthday is!

That’s okay; I know Robert will be fine.  My wonderful Mother-in-Law is going to take birthday cake to his Day Program and his house manager is going to treat him to a cheeseburger and Rocky Road Ice Cream that night.  Plus, we’ll have a celebration once we return from vacation.  He’s going to be one happy guy.

We’ve arranged for the animals to be cared for and Other Brother even gets to have Sassy again for a while (we’ve shared custody of her ever since Mom died which means Sassy is about 102 years old).

My suitcase is packed and weighs in just under the weight limit (I refuse to pay extra to check another suitcase or pay a penalty for an oversize bag).  Admittedly, my shoes have to be in my carry on to stay within the weight limit but I have to bring several pairs of shoes!  I mean, I have to! I can make a lot of sacrifices but paring down my shoe choices is not one of them.

Thankfully, G-J reminded me to leave my guilt at home because otherwise my bag would be over the weight limit!  I’m taking her advice and going on vacation with confidence the animals and Robert will be well cared for.

While I’m away, I have scheduled interviews on my Robert’s Sister blog with a few of the other family caregivers from here which (hopefully) will automatically post.  Enjoy learning more about part of the family here!

Also, visit my blog over the weekend of September 7 for epilepsy related posts (including an interview with Robert!) in support of the Talk About It Foundation’s first annual Epilepsy Awareness Weekend.

I will miss everyone here and will do what I can to comment but, honestly, I have to watch my data minutes so will most likely have to catch up when I return. :-)


Avatar of Trish

About Trish

I am Robert’s older sister and a freelance writer and am also a full-time Legal Administrator for a wonderful law firm (no, that is not an oxymoron). I am the caregiver for my youngest brother, Robert, who has suffered from uncontrolled epilepsy his entire life. In his late-40s now, he lives with me and my husband. I have somehow managed to navigate the maze of social services and government programs available to help Robert and continue to be amazed at the amount of time and persistence that is needed to do so. Robert finds happiness in simple pleasures like doing word search puzzles and watching his favorite shows (Family Feud and Jeopardy, of course!)

11 thoughts on “Vacation!

  1. Avatar of JaneJane


    I am so happy for you and hope that you have a wonderful time. I felt like our trip to Hawaii was a trip of a lifetime also.

    I know about having a hard time letting our daughters grow up and Nicole is just turning 18.

    I know the guilt you must feel especially since you are missing Robert’s birthday… boy, we have some swell people who are born in Sept. (even though October is better ) . When is Robert’s birthday?

    Please don’t feel guilty leaving all of us behind or anything …. we will get over it :(

    I hope that you will post some pictures and I look forward to reading your blog while your gone.

    Jane ~ mom to Nicole, 17 yo, VSD, PAH, Eisenmengers (dx 1/22/10) BHJS (dx 2/4/11)
    “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.”

    • Trish

      Thanks, Jane! I wish I could pack all of you in my suitcase and bring you along. :-)

      Robert’s birthday is Thursday, September 6. Richard and I will also celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary that day (as long as he makes it to Thursday – he’s stressing me out!!). :-)

      Leaving in 20 minutes but had to say last goodbyes here!

    • Trish

      Thanks, Denise! Obviously, I’m already going through withdrawals from the site. I have some serious catching up to do and hope to do some of it once we get to the airport. Hugs!

  2. G-J

    Trish, glad you took my advice about the guilt! It weighs too much! I will say we do have the same problem with the cat who wants to climb into the luggage when we’re packing! You will have a wonderful, wonderful time with your family and we will all look forward to your pictures. Save some of your pictures for next year’s art contest! :)

    This might make you feel better about your daughters growing up. My family never took a family vacation when I was growing up. Both parents worked so I was sent to camp for a week but that was only because there wasn’t summer school during that time. When Steve and I got married, my parents started vacationing with us. On our honeymoon, we went to Disney World for a week, and then were going to the Bahamas for a week, using my parents timeshare. We invited my parents to join us and they did, which was the start of years of wonderful vacation memories with the two of us and my parents, and later our son, us, and my parents.

  3. Avatar of Bette

    Hi Trish,

    Have a wonderful time!!

    Hoping you leave the guilt behind for your entire stay!! – You’ll feel like you’ve enjoyed your whole vacation if you can – please try (:

    Anxious to hear all about it and maybe see some pictures when you return.

  4. Avatar of JoJo

    Have a GREAT time Trish, truly deserved! Love the advise about not packing the guilt. Free’s up a lot of room in my backpack as well.

  5. pegi

    Have the most marvelous time. Think of all the great stories you will have for weeks to come to tell Robert. Enjoy the wine, enjoy the family, enjoy your vacation. There could not possible be a base you have not covered for his care. Bon Voyage!


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