“I wish my dad could have been here,” he said with a smile. “He fished along these shores and into the Mexican Riviera his whole life. He would have liked the way we’ve chosen to get married.” He glanced at me and squeezed my hand. “He would have liked you.”
“How much longer?” Chelsea asked excitedly.
“About five more minutes, I think,” Orfeo answered.
Kaitlyn hung her arm out the window and basked in the warmth of the sun. “I’m too excited to read my book anymore,” she happily announced to the wind.
“It’s okay,” I assured her. “We’re almost there.”
I looked in the side-view mirror to check on our three other teenagers. My son, Brad, and Orfeo’s two kids, Kay and Steve, were following in the car close behind us. They were all wearing sunglasses and bobbing their heads in time to the music I couldn’t hear. This was going to be fun.
We drove straight to the port and quickly parked. As we poured out of the cars and stretched, we were mesmerized by the beautiful, gleaming Golden Princess inviting us to board. Seagulls flew high above us, and the salty, warm breeze reenergized us. This was our first cruise, and we had been planning it for a year. We couldn’t believe we were finally about to begin our long-awaited adventure. Orfeo and I could feel the energy rising around us, so we quickly unloaded the luggage and walked into the port.
The check-in process went smoothly, and the port employees were cheerful. As we stepped on to the ship, we were welcomed by smiling crew members. We effortlessly found our three cabins located together, and the kids came into our cabin to check out the balcony. My parents had arrived before us and were already relaxing in their cabin, which was close to ours.
Embarkation proved to be exhilarating, and as we moved away from land, we left our worries behind. We stood at the rail with our kids and my parents. We watched the scenery float by as childhood memories danced in Orfeo’s eyes. I turned around and gazed at our boys playing chess with the giant chess set on deck. Orfeo put his arm around me and kissed my temple. “Tomorrow’s the big day,” he whispered in my ear. I looked up at him and we stood there grinning at each other on the deck of the Golden Princess, surrounded by the people we love, on our way to the Mexican Riviera.
“Come on, girls, we’re going to be late!” I called in to their cabin. The four of us rushed down the stairs to the hair salon for our 11:30 appointment. I had slept well the night before and was looking forward to being pampered. We each had our turn in the chairs while the stylists worked their magic. We emerged from the salon with fabulous hair, looking like royalty, and with just enough time to finish getting ready for the ceremony. When we got back to our cabins, we went about the business of preparing for our special event. The kids each came in, one by one, to request our approval. My parents took the chatty kids down to the chapel, and Orfeo and I sat on the bed. We were alone at last, I in my beaded ivory dress, and he in his black pinstriped suit.
“Are you nervous?” I asked him
“Nervous?” he laughed. “No. I’m not. I’m not at all. Are you?”
“No. The wedding planner took care of everything. All we have to do is show up. And here we are.”
Orfeo sighed. “Here we are… and you look beautiful. I love you so much.”
“I love you, too,” I responded as he leaned in to kiss me. He held me in his strong arms for a moment, and then he looked at his watch.
“I’ve got to get downstairs now,” he said, kissing my neck. He stood up and smoothed his suit. I stood and helped him straighten his tie, and we walked to the door. “I’ll see you down there, love,” and he was off.
I walked over to the mirror and sat down. I stared at the woman in front of me. She had been through a lot in her lifetime. She had experienced a divorce and felt the fear and loneliness of raising three kids alone, but the woman in the mirror was happy and confident. She was ready to start a new life.
The doors to the chapel opened, and I walked down the aisle in the traditional way. Captain Nick Nash married us, and the rest of the day was spent celebrating. Everywhere we went, we were congratulated. We were truly welcomed into the Princess family. Even though we were only a party of nine, it felt as though the entire ship was celebrating our love.