Life: Family Vacation
The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories. - Og Mandino
This week we spent the week in Mexico with one of our dearest friends and her 3 children. A family vacation can be a normal event. We did not take many family vacations while we were married. Just not enough money or time to go around. As the children have gotten older and incomes have increased, we have taken a couple here and there. Unfortunately, time is something that I didn't value as much as I should have. This vacation was very different. Different in the sense that I was 100% responsible for everything such as choosing when, where and financially.
My girlfriend and I had decided to take our kids together. We both divorced last year. She was brave last year and took her children alone on a cruise. I was not ready for that in any way last year. This year was a different story. I've promised myself to do scary things. As odd as it sounds, a family vacation was a scary thing. The research began with where to go. Last year, I had considered taking the kids on a beach trip to Florida. Unfortunately, timing didn't work out with a family wedding in the same time frame. I revisited that plan. At the same time, Southwest Vacations was advertising a great deal on trips to Mexico and a few other beach-y type locations. After more research and conversation, we decided an all inclusive was what we needed for this year versus an AIRBnB. We knew we would end up cooking and cleaning for kids all week. An all inclusive resort sounded much more appealing. We purchased our vacation package and started dreaming of sand and water.
The closer the vacation became I started to get nervous. Could I really do this? What if it's terrible? What if the kids have a horrible time? Not once did I think what if it's a great time? I was talking with a dear friend a day or so before we left about my anxiety. The response I got back was why are you worried about this? You've been through tough times. This is vacation with your kids and best friends. Stop worrying and relax. Well, okay. I can relax. (Insert eye roll here) The morning of our departure was smooth sailing. We had plenty of time last weekend to pack and prep. The kids were excited to go. Off we went!
The flights were smooth for the most part to our final location. Once we arrived, we were approached by a person wanting to help us to our hotel. If only we listen to a short presentation, we will receive a taxi voucher from and to the airport along with another excursion option. We looked at each other and said 'sure why not?' We did have to pay for the overall transportation package, but it was much less than what we would've paid just grabbing a taxi. We soon arrived at our resort. The kids were ready to hit the pool! For the rest of the day, we relaxed and watched the kids play and have a great time.
he next morning we were picked up and headed to a nearby resort for the presentation we said we would attend. Keep in mind, we knew exactly what we were getting into. This isn't two naive moms that were talked into a time share or vacation club presentation without understanding it. The presentation, of course, took longer that anyone wanted. The kids were great through the couple of hours. We were off to enjoy the new resort and beach. My friend had taken her children to the beach every year since probably birth. My children were newer to it. Once the initial fears were shut down, a great time was had by all! Watching my son play in the waves with his buddies without a care in the world brought so much happiness to my heart. My daughter loved building sand castles and playing in the water with my friend's daughter. There is nearly a 10 age difference between the girls. My daughter loved being a big sister to a girl. In turn, the little one loved being a little sister to a girl. She has 3 older brothers. After our time at the beach, we decided to hit the pool. The change of water scenery was great for the kids. They loved it! By the end of the day, they were pretty exhausted.
The next day was more of the same. Pool for several hours and then bed. My girlfriend and I would get in and play with the kids then sit out and relax for a while. The conversations we had were amazing. There is something about the bond that occurs between women that have walked the same path. You know the pain and joy of life. You listen and understand the other's story because it's your story as well. The characters are different yet the story is the same when it comes to divorce. While we both appreciated the time we were married and all that came with it, we are so much happier in our new lives. We are no longer young and inexperienced. Unfortunately, it was made us quite cautious when it comes to relationships. I don't find this as a bad thing. No longer do we put ourselves on the back burner. Our needs and wants are front and center. A few times on the first day I found myself apologizing for things that weren't 'perfect' on the trip. She looked at me and said it's perfect. Just look at how happy the kids are. That's why we are here. With that, I stopped saying sorry and enjoyed the trip.
My son asked one day during the trip about why I wasn't taking pictures. I had been taking pics he had not been aware. The normal amount of pictures taken was probably about 25% of what I would typically have taken. I wanted to be present with everyone. Not snapping away pics on my phone then editing them right away. The memories of participating in the trip were more important than documented footage. He was pleased with my answer and headed back to the beach.
The trip was an absolute success! The kids and moms had a wonderful adventure. At times, it was an adventure! I have no regrets about the trip. We are already discussing where to go next year. Can't wait for our next adventure together!!
Thank you to my dear friend, Jennifer. I couldn't do this life without you! Now off to do a mountain of laundry.