I’m Liv, and for a moment you’ve stepped in my life.

Writing is an escape. Does that make sense? I need to escape my life for a while, so let me write about it? Sense or not it helps because like the rest of world I’m juggling – husband, kids, house, and life. I do this all while trying to dodge the bullets life shoots at us sometimes.

I’m forty-seven, a wife, and a mother of two sons. My Italian American family and I live in New Jersey. No, I am absolutly nothing like the women on Real Houswives of New Jersey. Yes, to be fair they are probably juggling through life too, but they do it while wearing $900 shoes and hair extensions. This real housewife wears sneakers and I’ve never flipped a table, because honestly I really don’t want to have to clean up another mess. I bet there are more housewives like me than the stuff you see on tv.

Family is my life, that sounds very Carmella Soprano doesn’t it…but it’s true. My sons are 19 and 14, and they are both taller than me. I’m not quite sure when and how that happened, but it has. They grow and I shrink, at least thats what it feels like. They are great kids and we have a close relationship, and for that I am truly grateful. I know it’s important for them to have their own lives too, so I do my best to cut the cord a little at a time and let them fly.

Here’s the thing though, while my kids are gaining their independence, sadly my aging parents are losing theirs, and that too happened very quickly.

My parents did not have easy lives. They came to America and struggled to give their kids a better life, and while they succeeded, it was never a walk in the park. Their strength was something that I so admired, which only makes it harder now, to watch the people I thought were invincible, become so frail and dependent. They were my protectors, now, I have become theirs.

My dad was diagnosed with Dementia in 2017. It is a sad and frustrating disease. My dad looks good, his voice is his own, but the words that come out sometimes make my head spin. It is like some version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Yet, I am grateful, because my dad is here. Maybe not always mentally, but he is physically here. I’m not sure what the future may hold, due to the degenerative nature of Alzheimer’s Disease, so I take the time to tell my dad I love him everyday. I hug and kiss him when I first see him and before I leave. I did show my dad love and affection before he got sick too, but now it is a priority. Whether he remembers it or not doesn’t matter, because I do. I need to use this time to let him know he is loved. Do I get sad? Yes! Frustrated? Absolutely! But I never want to wonder if my dad knows how much I love him, or regret that I didn’t say it enough.

Heavy right? What about some fun? How about a vacation? The time is always right for vacation, it is my escape from life. To me there is almost no better feeling than planning, packing, and actually leaving on a trip. I don’t care where I go as long as it’s not here. Land vacations are great, I especially love Disney World. Funny, because my kids and I enjoy Disney World so much more now that they are grown than when they were little. Disney was a nightmare when my kids were little. Who was crying, who was tired, who was scared, ugh it almost made me not want to go back, but I am so glad we did! My kids and I had the best time! My husband…not so much. He doesnt mind Disney World, although he is not a huge fan of all the walking, but he goes for our sakes.

My husband would rather be at sea. Yes, he is all about cruises. We all are really. There is nothing like the feeling of being on an amazing floating city in the middle of the ocean. Sitting quietly staring at the water wondering about all the beautiful ocean life that is taking place thousands of feet below, a whole other world we know so little about. All the while, up above that world, this enormous vessel is floating through that same ocean, while its passengers are eating, drinking, and sunning themselves as we make our way to a beautiful caribbean island.

With a cruise, the beauty is you have options. Do a lot, a little, or nothing at all. Explore the ship, see every show, gamble, drink, and be merry. Or just sit on a lounger looking at nothing but blue ocean all around. And if that’s still too much, find a lovely quiet reading nook and settle in with a good book while the ocean lulls you into a relaxing escape. It truly is the best way to travel in my opinion.

Vacations are our family’s bonding time. No matter what else we have going on in our lives, the four of us have our chance to get away and just enjoy being together and reconnecting. The years go by quick and kids grow up. I am so grateful that my boys still enjoy traveling with my husband and I, and I pray that never changes.

It’s a tough world and we all have our baggage. Stay still too long and life can just swallow you up.

Tough or not, I am thankful for everyday I have, as I continue to be LivInLife.

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