As far as “bucket list” travel days, today was a big one. We started out the day by getting a stamp in our passport from Hell (Grand Cayman.) Having survived that slightly odd detour, we then spent the morning wading amongst playful green sea turtles. We learned that a slight tickle under the chin is the best way to get in good with a sea turtle, and in return they will allow you to hold them like a little puppy. Then it was snorkeling with the giant southern stingrays. These big girls will let you hold them gently under their slippery wings, if they can bury their nose in your chest. To end the day, I wore a corset for the first time, in public or otherwise, as a part of my pirate costume. To cap off the evening, I participated in a wicked game of limbo, while wearing said corset and did not pass out or fall down, thankyouverymuch.
Yes, it was a big day, with each bit of the experiences worthy to be logged in the annals of epic travel moments. But, by far, the best moment of the day, and the moment that made an indelible mark on my soul, was not any of those banner experiences that would find their way onto any bucket list. Instead it was the moment that my son, who is just a growth spurt away from outgrowing me, walked with his arm around my shoulder for the entire length of a long hallway and allowed me to walk with his arm around his waist. As I watched our shimmering reflections, bounce in the long row of windows, I tried as hard as possible not to break into the ugly cry at the gift of that moment.
And I was reminded again that this is the reason why I travel with my children.
It’s the not the big moments. It’s not the “I just held a stingray and swam with a turtle moments”, although those are fantastic. It’s the little snips and snatches of time when we are bonded together by our experiences and our hearts are drawn closer together. Sharing those red letter experiences throughout the day stripped away the mundane and base way that we too often relate to each other, my son and I, and set the stage to allow us to relate to each other in a fresh way.
I am still on cloud nine from that moment. I still feel the print of love in my heart. I could have walked the red carpet and won an Oscar, and this still would have felt better.
Now, here is where my gushy story matters to you. Everyone deserves to feel that “better than the red carpet” feeling with their children, and I am here to tell you, it happens when you travel. You don’t have to travel far, and you don’t have to do anything exotic. You don’t even have to spend a dime. Just get out of your typical routine and try something new. Spend the whole day exploring in a way that you have never explored before. But here is where it is tricky-you can’t just watch your children have do new things and see new places, you have to dive in and get the “newness” all over you, as well. And when you do, you will set the stage for you and your children to tie your heart strings tighter, and create a moment so magical that you will still be able to feel it in your heart long after it is over.