I’m sure many might ask why I would chose to take a "girls trip" to Mexico with just me and my 7 year old daughter in the middle of spring. At least I asked myself that as the day of departure grew closer. When I first saw fares for $200 from Dallas to Cabo, I emailed my friend who lives there, and said "We’re coming!" And I found a small window that could work, and bought the tickets! But that was about 2 months ago… As time grew closer, many fears started creeping in, wondering whether it was safe for us to go by ourselves, knowing that it would not be a typical "relaxing vacation" on the beach with just the 2 of us, as my primary concern would be her safety. I also started stressing about taking the time off - we had just been on vacation for spring break and it felt a little indulgent to go again. Plus, our lives are so freaking busy with work, school, activities, I mean it’s spring time, people. "There’s soooo much to do!" I kept telling myself. It’s just not a good time. I almost cancelled the trip.
But at some point, a few days before we traveled, I made a choice. I chose to make this the best mom and daughter trip we could possibly have together. Tickets had already been purchased, and I became very cognizant of just how much of my life I spend "waiting for the perfect situation." When she gets old enough, when we can all go as a family, when I am not so overwhelmed with work. When, when, when. When is now. When is happening in front of me as I strive to perfect, perform and please. I am so so grateful that I made the decision to go… Not only to go but to really BE with my daughter. I learned so much about myself these past few days, and about her. Here are a few...
Walmart CAN be wonderful - I can’t believe I am saying this but when you’ve had a rough travel day and still need to get food, there’s nothing like having a Walmart in Mexico to stock up on breakfast items and snacks for your stay.
There’s an "art" to planning- Figuring out the right level of planning for a vacation with a child is definitely an art form. Sunset sailing? Dinner at a Brazilian restaurant? Sounds wonderful, right? I am so lucky to have friends in Cabo and when my friend planned a wonderful sunset cruise she invited us to, I was thrilled. As time grew nearer and my daughter continued to enjoy herself in the pool, I knew that a sunset cruise for her wasn’t going to be joy-filled for anyone who showed up on that sailboat. Here’s the thing, I get that kids need to learn to go along with plans and adapt to situations, and it can’t be all about them. I also get that I can choose to stick to this belief doggedly or create a situation where (at least on vacation) we can adapt to how we’re feeling rather than sticking to a rigid plan. It’s an art, meaning there’s no perfect answer… and that’s ok.
Being on the beach is great but being in the ocean is better - we were so blessed to go whale watching on the last day of the seasonand got to see a mother and child whale pair migrating together. I mean, can you even believe that luck??? It was AMAZING! Seeing a “baby” 10-foot humpback whale breaching (playing) was stunning and glorious and reminded me that the connection of a mom and child is a universal gift. My 7-year old may not understand what a miracle it was to witness this but then again, maybe she understands it even more than I do. Regardless, I am so glad for the miracle anyway. So, so grateful!!!!
Limiting electronics is a rule for mommy, too - So we’re all concerned about the electronic addiction of kids, right? But I have to say that it’s funny how concerned I am about her electronic addiction and tend to ignore my own. It’s hard to put down the phone, knowing that clients, employees and others all have questions or other needs that “require” my attention. Oh, and just one quick peek on Facebook while I’m on the phone. It requires SERIOUS intention to just be ok with not responding immediately to every email/request/need/question that others have of me, and instead, choose to put down my phone, and be with her in the moment. It was not lost on me that my own addiction is looming in the background of my electronics rules for her. And breathing through that without all the guilt that goes with the realization helps me put down the phone more quickly.
Boredom is beautiful - I learned that my child is evidently accustomed to an over-planned life, too, and that it’s ok for her to be "bored." When my daughter’s bored, I recognized my first reaction is to help her find something to do - put an activity in front of her, give her some ideas for using her time. However, awareness of this is the first step, right? And breathing through it is the 2nd. And then just being ok with her boredom, I realize that boredom has its beauty.
Mommy melts down sometimes, too - My belief that I should be strong enough to weather even the biggest emotional storm of a child with total and complete calm is well, bullshit. Yes, breathing is good. Being with what is is even better - but sometimes, all of that just goes out the window and an emotional storm has to be met with an emotional storm. That’s ok, we can pick up and try again. And don’t blame me, dear, for the cuss word you just learned, I will certainly deny it and blame it on someone else who is unsuspecting!