Twelve years ago, my husband and I scheduled a trip to Argentina. I bought a Lonely Planet travel guide and gathered personal recs on where to stay and go. Jack, our son, was one year old then, so he could fly on my lap. He was just learning his first words in English and Spanish, laying the groundwork for Habla Blah Blah, though bilingualism hadn't hit mainstream in North America yet. We were hell bent on international travel while we needed only two tickets. Our goal to grow our family took priority over all else, so we were anticipating an inverse affect on our ability to travel.
We cancelled that trip a week prior to departure due to a job offer that was probably the opportunity of a lifetime! #2020hindsight It was an exciting proposition, but I’d be lying to say I wasn’t disappointed. Our consolation prize was a weekend in Catalina, not bad, but not South America. Then my husband missed the Friday afternoon ferry due to new responsibilities and I was hormonally breaking on the edge of tears. Catalina is great, but it wasn’t Argentina. I had my heart set on a romantic family vacation abroad, not just an extended playdate with my little boy.
Now with three children in tow, we are going to Argentina! Woop woop! It’s hard for me to rationalize the cost, as it seems so expensive BUT a lot of life happens over twelve years.
I write with tears puddling over gratitude and out of fear. I am so grateful that we can go; I feel so lucky/blessed/ridiculous/excited. My plan is coming together… we have three beautiful, healthy, bilingual kids who can adventure with us as we’ve always dreamt. But again, I am fearful that this may be our last big trip for awhile. That is not the real reason that I am fearful. I am fearful because of the reasons for which I will choose to stay home in the future: Both of our moms are facing uphill battles with cancer, and I can’t stomach the realities of how that translates in the near years to come.
So as my mom starts the first of her targeted gene therapies, I am struck now more than ever by my favorite phrase to mock “#YOLO”:
F’n, make it count, right? So we are going, and I am psyched. And if we can scrape together the dough, we’ll stay in a nice Estancia. If not, we’ll stay in hostels. I don’t care – I’m going! These are important dreams of ours - to explore, to experience, to share with our kids. I want us to meet other people and learn stories from another America. I want Argentina to be part of our story that we create together, #partyoffive.
One day soon, my tween won’t find me so cool (#moderndrsuess)... I am obsessed with capitalizing on the amount of time I have with my three kids under my one roof - we are currently at T minus 12, which results in 6 years remaining. Of course we'll still have close relationships after that time, but they will be young adults then, navigating through life to the best of their abilities and choices - being exactly who they are meant to be and not subject to my whimsy or rules!
So we bought tickets: the first step. We leave December 26! I can't go back now - I've said it out loud and put my credit card where my mouth is. I embrace the 'rocking chair theory' - when you are rocking in your chair on the front porch as an old lady recalling the stories of your life, I will only regret what I did not do. I am seeding my stories in reverse.
And it’s funny how everything comes full circle in some way. Life. My mom was raised with a very limited view of the world; her parents didn’t want her to experience too much, “save it for adulthood” or “what do you have to look forward to?” was their old-fashioned thinking. I think the opposite: it is my greatest pleasure to expose my kids to the most that I can. It is my pleasure and my duty. I can’t change the world in my lifetime – I am no Einstein. But I have high hopes for my kids and their generation. #YOLO! #wiserwithyears