Sigh! I just realized, because many have been asking me, that I’ve neglected to write about Mariah’s departure. She went back to California on June 3rd. Sad Face….I think she would say that her visit was a really good time. This was her first vacation as a grown up, and her first journey outside of the U.S. Well, to be honest, her father has taken her to Mexico, but in my mind, it really doesn’t count because it was a resort, she never really ‘saw’ Mexico. When you spend time in a plush resort, surrounded by swimming pools and fancy restaurants, can you really feel as though you’ve experienced a different culture and seen a new place? I don’t really think so. But on this vacation to Panama Mariah really and truly saw Panama and experienced a different culture.
Thanks to my friend Emma, who went all out giving us the tour of Panama City, Mariah got to really see a huge amount of that part of Panama. Of course she got to see the Canal. Emma said that was a MUST! I don’t know why, but I didn’t really think that Mariah would be too interested in seeing it, but I was oh so wrong! I guess I forgot that she’s not a little kid anymore, and would not roll her eyes and be bored by such an interesting and awe inspiring sight. She was really glad to have gotten to go and see ships go through the locks and to walk through the museum at the Miraflora visitors centr. Scott and I have gone on a boat tour of the canal and actually been through both ends of the canal but It was my first time at the visitors center. I really enjoyed it too. Our time running around the city with Emma was so great and she made sure we got to see all the important things. To be honest, I saw more of the city on this trip than ever before. Its a real treat to be driven around with someone who lives there and knows their way around.
I really wanted to do the bus ride from Panama City to David so that she would get to see the countryside and just experience public transportation. I know , it’s a really long 7 hours but it gave her a great opportunity to spend time around lots of locals and experience their kindness and really get a feel for what the Panamanians are really like. Yes, there is a flight from the city directly to David, it’s only about 45 minutes or so, but then she would have missed out on really seeing Panama up close and personal. She loved it and was just mesmerized by the change in scenery from the city to the country. It was 7 hours well spent plus it was 7 hours with my daughter by my side, I was a happy mom.
We had a little over three weeks together! It was the most concentrated amount of time I think I’ve ever gotten to spend with my daughter. At first, it took us a little time to actually get kinda ‘re-aquainted’. That may sound strange to some people. But My daughter and I have had a very rocky, somewhat complicated and difficult past. Her path to adulthood was not an easy one. Consequently, we have not lived together since she was about 15 or 16. And from the age of about 12ish, well, let’s just say, life was a challenge……So, fast-forward to now, she’s 22 years old and all that nastiness is far far behind us. But what remains is a mother and daughter who really hardly know one another. Ours is a somewhat damaged relationship that requires some healing. This time together was just that, it was healing.
We had many good talks and deep discussions , some about the past, some about just what we believe in and who we are. She and I have such deep rooted and not especially accurate perceptions about one another. I was a scared, disappointed, angry, sad, and often distraught mother for most of her adolescence. And she was a very self destructive, depressed, fiercely independent, angry, scared, confused young girl. Now, we are both very different people. We both have regrets and wish that time could have been much different. But, (and here’s where I say something very cliche, but I believe to be true),everything happens for a reason. And difficult experiences can make us better and stronger if we choose to find the learning in them. And I’ve found that there’s always learning to be found if we only look. Mariah and I had three weeks to really LOOK at each other. And to begin to heal our relationship. Sigh…
She’s a beautiful young women who has chosen her path and who gets all the credit for deciding to be a success. She’s smart and kind, she’s hard working, and she’s funny, she’s friendly and she’s honest. Her life is just beginning. And she seems very happy with where her path has taken her thus far. Aside from showing her as much of Panama as I could in three weeks time I think our ‘re-acquaintance’ far out-shined all the sight seeing. At least for me. While I was thrilled to see her eyes light up when she saw Bocas Del Torro for the first time and her extreme delight in exploring the jungle in Rambala, and watching her climb that wall in Bajo Mono, and cuddle with a sloth in Volcan, all that was magical to be sure, but nothing quite as magical as just ‘being’ together. And when I say, ‘together’ I mean together as a family with Scott as well. The two of them also had a little time to reconnect, which is so great!
All this to say, we had a great visit. There were great moments and some kinda difficult ones as well, but what a pleasure to have my daughter here and to show her all that I love about this place that we now call ‘HOME’. I’m pretty sure she’ll be back and she’s also really caught the travel bug! We had much conversation about all the other magnificent places she wants to see. But for now, she’s back to work…Her job as a server in a restaurant is about to get some significant changes because the restaurant will be changing hands and becoming a totally different place. And her daytime job at the salon is also changing dramatically for her because she has transitioned from being an apprentice to being an actual stylist now! Her first day working as a stylist she texted me to let me know that her first client was so pleased with her hair that she rebooked for her next haircut! Such a great thing for me to hear, it just seems like yesterday that it was my first day at work in the salon. What a thrill to see her at the beginning of her career. Life is good….