This is the girl who made me a Mom. My oldest and my heart. My brave girl who zip lined and plunged right in to swim with dolphins, petted sea lions at Dolphin Discovery and showed no fear in Mexico. She makes me proud every day, sometimes it’s the daily school and life stuff. Sometimes, it’s the snapshots shared on a big magical travel adventure.
I am amazed just watching her make her way in the world with a heart wide open to helping others, and strong shoulders lifting them up. Two weeks ago we travelled together to Puerto Vallarta. Mother daughter trips are a blessing and this one was no exception. I was able to take one guest with me. The question people keep asking me is how did you choose who to take?
It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was the right one. Why? Because this trip was our adventure. I knew Payton would be up for that. I also knew she’d love it. She travels well and is soon to be 13, and frankly, this also felt like an excellent way to usher in the teen years. And then there was this: when I was debating openly who would I take to Puerto Vallarta she was first to say – you should take Dad. Dad’s work schedule is much less flexible than mine and that would still have left two grade school kids here without an actual plan. I knew one of the kids would love the trip and one of them really needed a break. So Payton was my travel partner this time. Next time it will be her sister, or her Dad, or the entire family.
Making Memories in Mexico
Together, we had an amazing time. And we will do this again. Because this is what I have learned as a daughter myself whose Mom passed away suddenly just over one year ago: being a daughter is a brilliant, precious lifelong honour. The mother, daughter relationship is incredibly unique. It is worth celebrating every chance you get. Mother daughter trips are the perfect way to celebrate together.
My Mom and I travelled just once on our own to Florida. We explored Disney in the rain, ate clams, oysters and crocodile, shopped and drank vodka in the sun. We were silly and we filled the days with laughter, food and fun. Of all the things my brain and heart hold close about my own Mom, the memories of that trip remain. When I close my eyes, a picture of her easily bubbles up, leaning on a dresser inside a motel room in St. Pete’s, laughing with a straw hat on her head and a cocktail in hand.
I am a lucky mom to have two beautiful daughters. When I returned from Mexico my youngest daughter was upset. I had chosen her sister to go on an awesome press trip with me. She was angry. She acted out and she lashed out at her sister. I still don’t think she’s over it yet. Of course, some of her friends didn’t help. When I was away someone told Ainsley: “Well your Mom must love your sister the most because she took her to Mexico.”
Parenting is all about making hard choices. This was a beautiful and fortunate and wonderful opportunity and I chose my oldest daughter to come along for the ride. Fallout not withstanding, I am so very glad I made the choice I did. Why? Many of you know my youngest daughter has special needs. Am I excluding her from trips because of that? Hell no. Never. But I am recognizing that she takes up a lot of space and energy and she can be hard to parent.
When you parent kids with special needs it occasionally feels like they take up all the space, every ounce of air, every moment of time, all your attention. And the siblings, if I am to be 100 % honest, often get less. They accept the sliver of space left over after you are done advocating and fighting and managing the medical and emotional and educational needs of the sibling. And they are often the ones who end up taking over care of a special needs sibling when parents pass away. You can spend a lifetime feeling guilty over making everything equitable in the sibling memory bank or you can give more to each one individually when it is needed.
Fair is not equal. So there’s all of that.
Next time, it will be someone else’s turn to travel with me. I will deal with the fallout from those who are left at home when I return. It’s all part of this journey I am honoured to be on. If anything, this trip has convinced me to carve out more opportunities to spend time one on one with each member of my family. I hope there will be more mother daughter trips.
Time to Be Just Mother and Daughter
This was our time, just to be mother and daughter. To build memories and to breathe it all in. To cuddle in an over-sized bed, like we did when she was a toddler. In my head I am frequently doing Mom math. If she is 12, then we have 6 summers left. If she is 13 then we have 5 summers left and so on. At some point soon she will no longer want to be my travel buddy. But for now we have Puerto Vallarta and my commitment to do this again.
More Mother Daughter Trip Details
Read our review of the beautiful Puerto Vallarta family resort we stayed at.
Have you ever done mother daughter trips?
We were guests in Puerto Vallarta on a travel bloggers trip. Many thanks to Puerto Vallarta tourism for a great stay. My opinion is all my own.