Traveling outside the country always provides me with an unexpected perspective that ultimately makes me feel more contented with my life. Greece post college gave me an awareness of what it means to be an American. Central Mexico with my mom made me realize that possessions do not make a life; love does. And Europe with my husband was a chance to appreciate history, discover different cultures and explore my family heritage.
Post-children, the perspectives are no less profound. Last year, when my daughters were 2 1/2, I left them in the capable hands of their father and took a girls' trip to Mexico.
I re-connected with my inner self on that trip. I climbed out of the muck of diapers and spit-up and discovered the woman that still lived inside.
Last week, my husband and I took our first vacation without the girls since they were born. At the tip of the Baja peninsula, between Lover's beach and Divorce beach, I realized this trip was about connecting.
I re-connected with my husband - seeing him again with the eyes of a wife, not as a harried working mom. Seeing him as my husband, and not just as the father of my children and partner in twin parenthood.
I re-connected with humanity outside of my own circle of family and friends. I related to strangers lounging around the pool, old and young. Tears dewed my eyes as I silently wished for a good outcome for a Multiple Sclerosis surgery recipient that was staying at our resort. I imagined her grandchildren, and prayed that she will one day be able to frolic with them outside of her wheelchair.
My twin-mom friend/travel companion and I met a kindred spirit and we celebrated their 40th birthdays dancing like college kids, reincarnating our youth, uninhibited and unabashed at our age, our confidence fueled by alcohol and the fun-loving atmosphere. We celebrated our freedom from our children, and then discussed them incessantly.
And I discovered the natural longing of a mother away from her offspring, ironically choosing to read a book about motherly ambivalence. I missed their voices, their forms, their delicate arms and legs wrapped around my neck and torso, clinging to me with feisty ownership. I missed the warmth of their bodies in my lap and their determination while weaving their way through childhood.
Most of all, I missed their need for me - the indubitable desire for their mama.
Thereby, unknowingly, connecting with my purpose in life; my children.