04.03.2017 - 05.03.2017
“It’s time to move on. Time to get goin’. What lies ahead I have no way of knowing.”
Oh Tom Petty, I totally know what lies ahead, you fool. It’s work, bills, a mortgage, stress, errands, cooking, rain, and enough coffee to give a rhino a heart attack.
Vacation is over. It’s our last evening here in Mexico and I sit in the same dumpy motel that we started the trip in, eating the same kind of frozen pizza and mixed frozen vegetables we had on our first stop here. Audrey is finally asleep after nearly two hours of fussing for reasons we couldn’t figure out or seem to soothe. Maybe she knows it’s time to go home as well and she’s protesting in the only way an 8 month old can--refusal of sleep.
Truthfully I can’t complain. While Des started the first few days with rocky and annoying behavior, he really mellowed out. Audrey started the trip with dream-like cooperation, but has slowly begun to deteriorate into more and more fussy evenings as she becomes overtired from days full of new stimuli and sleep adjustments. We’ve tried to keep things fairly low key on this trip (and have succeeded, really), but at the end of the day she’s not at home in her bed, in her house, with her things. It’s hot, she’s slathered in seven inches of sunscreen all day, and Desmond tries so hard to keep quiet during naps, but at the end of the day he’s three and that’s a feat too large for even the best of ‘em.
Still, my kids have both been remarkably great on the scale of behavior and adaptability. I mean, Des really has been touch and go at times, but I’d still give him a solid C overall.
The last few days have been pretty low key after our day trip to Tulum. Lots of beach time, swimming in the ocean, and playing around the area. We’ve gone out to eat (and subsequently packed up our meal), lounged around, and taken many walks. We’ve all been swimming in the ocean, a warm blanket of turquoise goodness, and sat under the stars in the evening as we watched bats feed from the fruit tree adjacent to our deck. We’ve met friendly people who have been very accommodating, and we’ve been swindled for $20 and with purposely poor exchange rates. It’s all about balance.
At the end of the day (or this day, anyway), it has once again been a worthwhile venture to take my children on a trip to a new country, new experience, new adventure. I never understand why people advise us not to do this, though I can comprehend the whole “why pay for a trip to be stressed out when you can be plenty stressed out at home” bit. Traveling with kids *is* stressful. Usually. Not always, but usually.
There are moments when I want to give into this mindset. When I search for airfare for all of us to fly. When I deal with finding lodging that will work for two kids with different sleep needs and their accompanying parents who prefer not to sleep on a sofa pullout in the living room, but are willing to negotiate this one. When I just want to sit and drink a cup of tea out on the balcony on a warm evening and take in the beauty around me, but one of the kids decides they don’t want to go to bed. When I bring a crossword book to entertain myself for the duration of the trip, but only manage to complete half of one page the entire trip. When I have to share a bed with a homesick toddler who misses his toys and bedroom and familiarity instead of stretching out in my own bed without someone kicking me in the face trying to sleep in some weird position. When I have to abandon an attempt at restaurant eating because someone is having a meltdown. When I have to find a bathroom asap because my toddler needs to poop, but is still pretty new at the whole “holding it in” deal with potty training. When I think I’m surprising my toddler with an amazing treat of ice cream, but he cries because it’s in a cup that we’re all sharing and he can’t lick it like a cone.
I could truly go on and on. The stresses DO pile up, and traveling can have it’s really difficult moments.
Then I watch my baby laugh as her brother splashes at her in a pool. I see my toddler’s face bright with joy as he jumps into his dad’s arms from the pool edge and yells for me to watch his new trick. I take my kids to the beach and see one feel sand for the first time and the other dig around in it with stellar focus and determination, telling me of all the things he’s building with it. I answer ten thousand questions about Maya ruins because the toddler is inquisitive and curious and thought a day trip to Tulum was the best adventure of the trip. I feed my baby guacamole for the first time in a beachfront restaurant with views as memorable as her pure delight in eating it. I sit under the stars as my kids sleep and talk with my husband without the distraction of our everyday life and exhaustion at the end of the day. I go on morning walks with my toddler to explore the area and make up games about all the imaginary things we’re seeing because there really isn’t much to look at in a resort residential neighborhood. I listen to his stories and make believe and smile because he’s just so damn smart. I feel the warmth of the sun, breathe it in, and realize that these moments are greater than the stressful ones beyond any measure of doubt, and I will not succumb to the mindset that they aren’t worth it.
There is so much I want to show my children in this world, and piece by piece we’re moving along.
This trip was exactly the kind we needed. It was low key, our days were easy to navigate and packed with just enough action to entertain, but not too much to stress everyone out (minus our, eh hem, spirited toddler and his mad dash darting away and jumping into a swimming pool). There was a good balance of venturing out and sitting in, just what we needed with kids.
Will we return to Mexico with the kids for a fourth visit? It’s likely. It’s easy travel, friendly people, and filled with plentiful adventure for any stage in life. I’m happy we chose to take this trip, and I am excited for our next adventure...which will be an easy and modest trip to Alaska in July.