The first night on the ship, you pass under a bridge. And while you know that the ship will fit, they've done this before, it sure doesn't look like it. So we took all the kids up to the front of the ship on deck 13 to witness it.
Pretty cool, huh? Not to Eion.
He was not impressed and wanted to leave the family tout de suite. We had decided earlier that when confined to the ship, we were completely free-ranging. The kids had their room cards, unlimited food and soda, and they were released to go anywhere they wanted. Despite my lingering fears he would be lost forever in the bowels of the ship, we let him leave, largely because he was being a little asshole.
I stressed but when we returned to our rooms, he was there waiting and duly impressed with himself. Eion's independent streak was apparent throughout the cruise as witnessed by his absence from this family photo:
And this one:
Matter of fact, we have zero pictures of everyone together on the ship. So, you ask, what the hell was E doing alone on the ship? The answer: meeting and befriending the entire ship, staff and fellow cruisers alike.
Behold. The most popular guy on the ship.
The realization of exactly how friendly he was with everyone came to us slowly. We saw that at the pool, he was happy to get in the hot tub with any combination of guests and chat them up but we didn't know, at first, that this was his mode all day. Until....
At breakfast the second morning we are walking through the Garden Cafe (read: cafeteria) and some fully grown man calls out "Hey Eion!" It seemed strange but we didn't think much of it until Maggie said they were out exploring and ran into a group of teenagers who hailed E by name and commented amongst themselves as they walked away, "He is just the cutest little boy!"
Soon it was all the time - a boy passing by us at dinner New Year's Eve, the greeters at the restaurants - it appeared he had met everyone. The best was when we were on a shore excursion and a group of senior citizens asked us to take a picture. Sure, I said, would you mind taking ours as well? I started to introduce the family and they interrupted me, "Oh we already know Eion. He told us all about how you live on the 4th floor and have two rooms attached by a doorway. He got an xbox for Christmas." You don't say.
The worst was when we came back to the room one night after dinner, having been left sometime earlier by E, and as we approached the room, our Indonesian housekeeper called out, concerned, "Did you know he was down here?" When you have loosened your parenting to the point that the third worlders are questioning you, it may be time to re-evaluate. Or not. Eion seemed quite happy watching him fold towels into different animals.
But this was exactly how the entire trip went. But I have to say, he was memorable. For one, there aren't many seven year olds running loose. And when he went to get dessert, he generally was running, waving both hands over his head in excitement.
It may not have been with us, but he had a great trip.
[Tomorrow, shore excursions!]