Something of our very own

The trip of a lifetime

I just got back from 5 days in Paris with my 9 year old daughter. Ok, my husband was there too, but in all fairness, he was working most of the time at a conference, so really, it was a girls’ trip with an occasional cameo from him. This trip had been a dream of hers for the past couple of years, mainly inspired by her love of Beauty and the Beast, but that desire to go to Paris has persisted, so when the opportunity arose to take her on the journey, I couldn’t resist. Our very independent and decisive 6 year old daughter opted to hang back home with my parents and enjoy Halloween, as any self-respecting 6 year old should; and while I missed her terribly, it was really a blessing in disguise that she chose not to come along.

Having two daughters, 3 years apart, gave me a lot of quality solo time with my older daughter before her sister’s arrival, but since then, I have found it increasingly more difficult to have quality one on one time with her. Not for lack of trying or desire, but once the younger one came along, it was usually the three of us girls all together, or the younger one and me passing the time while the older one was at school or a play date or an activity. I love my time with both of my girls, but it is amazing what you get out of that time alone, separately with each of them. You are given access to a personality that doesn’t always avail itself to you and you see them for who they truly are when they can be completely themselves; no upstaging, no competition, no jealousy and no distractions. This trip meant more to me than anything I’ve experienced in a very long time and my heart is full of memories that I will never forget. I don’t think my daughter will either.

My 9 year old is an old soul. My husband hates when I refer to her that way, but it’s true. She is mature, well spoken, charismatic, and very bright, yet she still goofs around like a young child should. She is still amazed by everyday things like a caterpillar or a beautiful flower on the ground… or by pretty much any puppy she sees walking down the street. She is also very much a first born – she’s a perfectionist, a caretaker, a natural born babysitter and the leader of the pack; which, fortunately, her little sister doesn’t seem to take offense to most of the time. I think it is her curiosity and her quest to learn about anything and everything she can that made this trip such a no-brainer. Not to mention her boundless energy.

Seeing the sights of such a beautiful, historical, and magical city was wonderful, but the highlight for me was the times I spent with her, just sitting side by side at a café, hearing her giggle at asilly story she was telling me; passing the hours together munching on dessert and learning as much as possible about each other. Walking down the street holding her little hand (still, but not for long) in mine or feeling her put her arm around me to give me a random squeeze. Those are the moments and the feelings that will stay with me and make me feel a bit teary eyed when they come to mind. Time away with my first born little miracle, no distractions like work or school or carpools or activities or chores to get in the way of real, uninterrupted quality time together; that may be the best gift I’ve gotten all year. This trip just made me realize even more how in awe of my daughter I am and how important these opportunities and these moments are. Now that she is back in school and I am back to the usual grind of school drop off, then zip off to work, then pick up at school again and run to the next scheduled activity, I miss the quiet sincere talks with her we had at those cafes, and I miss the look on her face when she saw something amazing. However, I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that that trip to Paris together was pure nourishment for our relationship. It made it even better, stronger, and different in a good way. We now have something that is just ours, and for that I will be forever grateful.

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