For months I’ve been counting the day’s until Mariah got to Panama! She arrived on May 11th and today she has 10 more days of her visit left, she goes home on June 3rd. We’ve had so much fun exploring together and reconnecting in a way that we never have before. I must say that I ‘m enjoying the company of my daughter as a mature, (mostly! 🙂 Hah! ) young women, for the first time. It’s been so incredible to get to know this independent, young women and to discover and renew a relationship with her like I’ve never had before. We’ve been working on putting the past travails behind us and on establishing a relationship based on who we are now. The past is long gone and although we all three went through a lot of pain and sorrow together , it’s time that we all let go and forgive. We’ll just chalk it up to a nasty adolescence and move forward from here…
This weekend we finally got Scott to take a little time off from the Casita project and we’re sitting under a palapa on the beach in Las Lajas enjoying the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach. I have to tell you what pure joy I feel just sitting here in this beautiful place with the two most important people in my life leisurely reading their books on either side of me! Yesterday, as I sat and watched the two of them playing paddle ball on the beach in front of me, seeing them laughing and having fun, my heart very nearly burst with joy. Yes, I’m filled with so much gratitude and pure happiness this moment. This last 14 days have been almost unreal! I’ve had the most fun with my daughter than I’ve ever had.
I never had the opportunity to spend this kind of time with Mariah when we lived in the states. I was always working and never had the energy or the time to just relax and really spend time together. I have no distractions and nothing else that I have to do but spend time experiencing Panama with her and soaking up all the beauty around us. We’ve even had lot’s of ‘firsts’ together too!! Some things we’ve done so far have been new experiences for both of us, things like exploring a bat cave on an island in Bocas Del Toro. That was quite an experience! We were able to hire a guide to take us and we hiked into the cave, well sort of hiked and partly waded through water and then we climbed up a big boulder inside the cave and there was a deep pool in the cave that Mariah dove into. As we hiked through the jungle to get to the entrance to the cave our guide pulled a limb from a tree that had a big fruit hanging on it. He pulled the fruit off the tree and cracked it open by banging it on the trunk of the tree. Inside the fruit were these sorta fuzzy looking white seed like things, about the size of a peanut. He told us to taste them, you actually scoop them out and suck the white, gooey stuff from the seeds, and wow! It was sweet and almost vanilla tasting… he told us they were chocolate seeds! He explained the process that they use to make them into the chocolate that we know. Amazing!! Another thing that we really enjoyed about our bat cave adventure was the boat ride through the mangroves to get there. We traveled deep into the mangroves to get to the spot in the jungle where we had to go to get to the cave, it was very beautiful in an almost eerie way. Seeing Mariah experiencing the jungle has been a treat for me. Oh, we also got to see lots of bright red poison dart frogs all over the place, that was pretty neat too.
On our second day in Bocas we went zip lining, which was a thrill but nothing compared to the thrill we both experienced riding around on the four wheel ATV’s!! Oh My Gosh!! We laughed so hard and had more fun together racing through deep mud puddles, getting covered in mud from head to toe and exploring the jungles and the hidden beaches on the island. Again, a first for us both! We were shocked that the guys who owned the company, The Flying Pirates, let us go off all on our own!! We expected to be with a group or at the very least, with a guide, but nope! That’s not the way they roll in Bocas!! A five minute explanation on how to drive those puppies and off we went!! Ha! I really have to get Scott out there to do that with me, it was too much fun!
After leaving Bocas we drove up to visit our friends Lyn and Eric at Rambala Jungle lodge. After all the amazing adventures we had in Bocas and all the wonderful things she saw there I was pleasantly surprised to hear her say, after hiking in to the lodge through the jungle…”Oh, mom! This is gonna be my most favorite place so far!” Big smile on my face! Because I must agree. Rambala is a special slice of heaven in Panama, for sure. She loved getting to know Lyn and Eric and also made another new friend, Brenda, as well. They have a dear friend, Bryan, who was also visiting and what a fun person to talk to, along with having my friends Kris & Joel with us, it was a great group of people that she really loved getting to know. It was her very first exposure to the jungle and to all the incredible things that live there. She actually spotted a beautiful coral snake(not to worry she kept her distance!),and she got to see all the adorable sloths that live in the trees around the lodge. There was even a baby sloth hanging tight to its mother! There were bugs galore! The Butterflies and hummingbirds, the toucans, and countless natural wonders had her feeling as though she was in a different world. And she even got to play a game that Eric never tires of introducing people to, Cornhole! Lot’s of laughter and more fun than I can even tell you about was had! Not far from our cabin in the jungle is a swimming hole where she got to jump from a rock into the deep pool in the river that goes through the property. She said that was on her list of things she has always wanted to do! Yippee! A dream come true!
After that little adventure we headed back up to my home in Boquete. I’ve been really excited to have time to show her our new home. There’s so much natural beauty to see in Boquete and I had a list of places I wanted her to see. First, though on my list….Rock climbing! She’s gotten into indoor rock climbing and goes to a climbing gym in San Jose where she lives and I knew she would be pleasantly surprised by the rock climbing in Boquete. For the last year I’ve been sending her articles and photos of our local rock climbing guru, Ceasar (he’s quite the hottie, and It was my sly way of luring her here! hah!) . He actually introduced the sport of rock climbing to Panama for the first time about 10 years ago. Now he’s a bit of a celebrity here in Panama and is a sponsored climber. His sponsors fly him all over the world to climb and to test new climbing gear. He has a rock climbing business and climbers come from all over to climb with him. I was really hoping she would be able to experience a little climbing with him but never in a million years did I expect what ended up happening….She got herself signed up for rock climbing on Wednesday and she had a great time but the guide was not Ceasar, but a guy who he has trained. She decided to sign up for another day of climbing for the next day because she had such a great time. I knew what time they would be finished so I drove over to the wall to see if she was ready for a ride home. And who was her climbing guide? You guessed it…Ceasar himself! Mariah came walking over to me and told me that Ceasar and his friend Rueben wanted to take her to the Cangalones to do some deep water solo climbing but I would need to drive them because neither of them has a car…..WHAT!!! I was thrilled!
We piled into my car and drove the 45 minutes to Gualaca where the slot canyon is located. I had a chair and a cold drink and sat in the shade watching them have a blast swimming and climbing. Caesar also loves to slack line, which is like tight rope walking over the canyon. So he just happened to bring his rope and set it up above the canyon. A group of Panamanian teenagers showed up soon after we got there and you could tell the word had gotten out that Caesar was there! They all started slack lining and climbing and swimming and it was good fun to hear all the laughter and see Mariah in there enjoying herself. Luckily she was only interested in the deep water solo climbing and not the slack lining!!! whew! (as I wipe my forehead in relief!) I had planned to take Mariah to the Cangalones but having the opportunity to go with the local pro was such an unexpected treat, we felt so lucky. But that was not the end of Mariahs fun day….
Apparently she had been invited by Caesar to join him that evening at a local celebration at one of the bar/restaurants in town, Mikes Global Grill. The restaurant was celebrating one year in business and they had free food and live music! I dropped her off at the bar and we went home. I felt a little bit like a worried mom again as we drove away! Sheesh! I gave her my phone to use because her phone doesn’t work here in Panama , with instructions to call if she needed me…oh boy! Yikes! I had to keep reminding myself, “she’s nearly 22 years old Holly! RELAX!” But come on! I don’t know what time it was when she got home and came into my room to let me know she had gotten home, but I’ll never forget the smile on her face and her answer to my question, “did you have a good time?”….With a big grin on her face, “I had soooo much fun!” Ahhh….as I role my eyes….What 22 year old woman isn’t gonna have a great time out with a hot little rock climbing latin hunk? I have a feeling mom has scored some major points with this one! Oh my goodness!
So We’ve had two days lounging on the beach in Las Lajas with Scott, and its been yet another great time with my girl. Her birthday is tomorrow and I think we’ll take her to a nice dinner at the Panamonte, really one of the nicest spots for a fancy dinner in Boquete. She’ll probably be doing some hiking with Caesar this week and I have a few other places I’d like to take her and many more great new friends she just must meet! If I can pull her away from the new friends she’s made in Boquete! Time has flown by and this next ten days will be gone in a flash! But the memories will last forever and this renewed relationship I have with my daughter has warmed my heart and made me a very happy mom. I’m just thrilled to have had the opportunity to share my wonderful new life with her and that she has enjoyed it so much. We still have a little more time to create even more memories and I plan to take advantage of every moment I have while she’s here with me. It’s been quite an Adventure, for sure!