So I embarked on another transatlantic journey with my child who is now three. The last time I took that voyage with her, she was one, not walking or talking. I thought at this age it would be much easier. I was wrong. She constantly wanted to be carried and I left the tram at home (thank god for my friend who indulged her during our weekend in Valencia) and her father in Morocco as I didn’t have the strength to carry that big girl around.
Due to a busy and stressful work schedule prior to our departure, I was not able to plan the way I normally do with a trip, but I still made some plans that included Flamenco of some sort, Museums, Bus Tours, train rides, etc. Alas, the day of our trip arrived and I realized that even the best laid plans are not toddler proof (or ex husband proof). Change of accommodations by others, jet lag, bank card not working, and temper tantrums put a little damper and added stress on the vacation.
However, in the end, I was reminded that it’s alright to break plans. We don’t have to be held hostage to plans. What I thought would be the most enjoyable parts of the trip (visiting castles and seeing musical performances in Spain) were actually trumped by our three short days in Morocco. I have been to Morocco several times and for my daughter, this was her second time (although she has no memory of her previous trip).
For some reason, I thought that this would be her least favorite part of the trip as the parts we were visiting were nothing like what she is used to. However, kids have a way of reminding us of the most simple and basic things in life. At the end of the day, she didn’t care about seeing the Sagrada Familia. What she cared about the most was playing in the playground across the street from the Sagrada Familia. She didn’t care about our bus tour or even seeing any Flamenco (although she did con me into buying her a Flamenco outfit). What she cared most about was roaming free at her family’s house in Morocco with no shoes on, following her aunts/uncles around the house, eating oranges straight from the tree, and feeding the chickens with her grandmother and father.
Lessons learned from a toddler (lesson 1 million and 1 as I am always learning from this little person) – be flexible. It’s also not about the sites or the material things. Rather it’s about the experiences. As long as I am able to, I will continue to inject new experiences in her routine be it in our own backyard or someplace else. Now I need a vacation from the vacation free from children. Where to next?