“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain
We just got back from our summer trip to the beach and it made me realize it’s about time I posted our winter vacation photos. If I don’t post them now, they will sit on a hard-drive somewhere and won’t see the light of day until some night twenty years from now when we will be talking about our family vacation to St. John and I’ll spend hours—okay, days—going through hard-drives trying to find them. I’ll annoy and frustrate everyone by my constant whining “I know they are here somewhereeeeee!” So, let’s just save us all a lot of grief and put these puppies up. This way all I’ll have to do is pull up my blog… if it exists. If blogs even exist in twenty years. Okay, let’s not go there.
So, back to our trip. This trip, I hope (fingers crossed) will be our launching pad to more trips like this in the future. I traveled a little bit before you kiddos were born. Not nearly as much as some of my friends who I would call real travelers, but still some. I spent much of my childhood in Japan, took a girls trip to Paris… and Egypt, got married in Italy and have taken trips here (Mexico) and there (England) occasionally. And while I was never particularly crazy about flying, I could deal with it. After 9-11 (I was scheduled to fly out of National to San Francisco that morning) I was even more nervous, but I still could manage. Then you were born Stella and whoa! Everything. Changed. It wasn’t all about me dying in a plane crash. Now, it was about missing out on your childhood and you not having a mother. Or even worse. We did fly once (to Vieques) when you were one but then nothing. For almost five years I wouldn’t step foot on a plane. I can’t remember what it was that finally made me say enough of this and take my first flight. I know the motivation was to go to a Cheryl Jacobs workshop, but I’m not sure what finally made me do it. Whatever it was, I’m so thankful for it.
I don’t have any expectations for what I want you to be or do when you grow up except for two things: I want you to love learning and I want you to travel. I believe traveling will make your more open, aware, kind, and sympathetic. And while, I’ll be a nervous mess (no doubt), I would even possibly support you all doing a gap year before you start college. This, by the way, does not mean a tour across the world of all-night-raves (Do they still even have raves?) in abandoned warehouses or remote fields.
Okay, back to the photos and our trip. This trip was so great for us. Stella, I was so proud of you. When Oma mentioned that she wanted to buy you snorkeling gear, I thought there was no way you would actually snorkel. Well, you both proved me very wrong. We could not get you out of the water. You saw sea turtles, squids, tons of fish and all sorts of things that I can’t even remember. You would go out farther and out longer than I would and I couldn’t be happier. I love your sense of adventure and your curiosity. You are so much braver than I ever was. Pilar, (and Ben too!) you also loved the water and while you didn’t snorkel, I have no doubt that you aren’t far behind. Saying St. John is beautiful is a huge understatement and I’m especially glad that you were able to spend lots of time with your Daddy, my parents and your Oma. I never take for granted how lucky we are that we can do things like this and I am trying to teach this to you too.
Before we left, I made the decision to only bring my film camera. I didn’t want to spend the whole trip with a camera attached to my face. I also didn’t want to come home to a thousand of images that I would need to cull and then edit. So, I bought some film and knew I only had a limited number of photos. I am so happy with that decision and think this will be the norm for our future trips too.
Future.Trips. I love saying that and I’m so excited for what I hope is to come. I’m dreaming big. Will it be the Spanish Colonial city of San Miguel? The Grand Canyon? An ancestory trip to Colmar, France or castles in Germany or Scotland (not sure we lived in castles, but let’s not get technical)? A trip back to Ravello where your Dad and I were married? Turkey? India?! Oh, and definitely Japan! There is so much I want you to see and to experience. The smells (These always seem to stick with me the most—I still have days when I stop dead in my tracks and say, “It smells like Japan right now!”), the sights, the food, the art, the music, the people. Mostly I want you to see that not everyone is like us (we are not the norm—there is NO norm) but at the same time, at the core, all people are the same; we laugh, we cry, we eat, we create, and and most importantly, we love.
Love you to the moon and back,
I’m so lucky to be included in the blog project “Letters to our Daughters” with a group of inspiring women who are not only talented photographers but amazing writers. Please visit the lovely Stephanie Beaty | Lifeography | Tampa Bay-Area Photographer to continue through the circle. I have admired her photography from afar for a while, but through this project I discovered her writing is just as beautiful as her photos.