The UNEXPECTED GIFT of Single Parent Vacationing
I met my daughter on vacation. No, I don’t have a secret daughter out there but I really got to know the girl I’ve been raising for the past 12 years. A few weeks ago we went on vacation together to Southern California and I feel like I met a totally different side of my daughter. It was so good for us to leave CO and get out of our routines. What I realized is that we didn’t just have physical routines, but we also had routine conversations. How was school? What homework do you have? What sounds good for dinner? It’s easy to get into the monotony of life and life conversations. Vacation was an incredible chance to break the routine and connect on a different level.
When you become a single parent you get the gift of a totally unique and closer relationship with your child(ren). We’ve walked through some really tough stuff together and come out the other side. Then you add in that it’s just ‘us’ most days and that closeness naturally happens. That is a blessing and a gift that I didn’t realize was going to happen. What is great about getting away together is the new experiences led to new memories and unexpected conversations. I knew my daughter was responsible, but I had no idea how responsible until our trip! I tend to lose my room key almost as soon as I walk into a hotel room. It’s a gift. My daughter had the mad skills of always knowing where her key was and where I left mine. Incredible talent if you ask me! My daughter is also a talented map reader. At the theme parks she would lay the maps out and be able to find out where we were and give options to get where we were going. Then, she was the one that would lead the way. Given that I have girlfriends that get lost coming over to my house (every time for a year!) – my daughter’s skills impressed me.
Going on vacation together also gave me a chance to connect and be present. I admit that during a regular week, I sometimes feel like my phone is physically attached to me. I’m constantly checking emails, texting and catching up on social media. On vacation – I posted pictures of us on Instagram (melissamooreradio) but wasn’t using it to connect with anyone else. After 13 hours at Disneyland and the drive there and back to the beach resort, I appreciated feeling connected to the moment. I shared in the exhaustion with my daughter and also heard her loud and clear when she asked if we could just do room service for dinner. Being present also allowed me to show her the LA skyline and point out the Hollywood sign on the hill (would have missed it had I been on my phone!). I was also able to notice mothering things that I still need to work on and coach my daughter through.
The other cool part of getting away with just my daughter; she also got to see a different side of me. Besides seeing the vacation fun side of her mom, I also hope that she takes away some bigger lessons. She got to see that as a single woman I can do this ‘thing.’ I can plan a trip, rent a car and navigate traffic in SoCal & LA. She also witnessed me being assertive and asking for what I needed from people in the service industry to me saying I NEEDED to go to the beach! I explained to her how important being close to the water is to me and how I needed time on the sand. She got it and even shared that she feels the same way, although she prefers a pool! We were also able to share in our love of the ocean and all ocean life. We ended our trip with an incredible whale watching excursion along the California coast that made for incredible memories and more conversations.
I may not be able to do some of my redecorating for a little while longer, but I am so thankful to have had this vacation adventure with my daughter. It was such a powerful reminder about how important shared experiences are to our lives. Whether it’s a weekend trip to the mountains or flying out of town together, the time is the real gift. We won’t get these days back. My goal is to really live my life in all that I do. New experiences and trips are just part of that connection.