Last Friday at 2pm, I got this text from my soon-to-be ex-husband’s fiancee … (yes, you read that right).
“Erin asked me to text you as he is driving: we are going to Laguna Beach with Aris tonight and tomorrow night (we just left about 15 mins ago). We are staying here (hotel name was listed). The room is under Erin. He will text you tonight when we arrive. We anticipate it taking 8 hours instead of 5 for frequent stops. If there’s anything else you want to know pls just ask.”
… As I’m reading it, a slew of emotions are coming on.
I’m excited that my baby girl gets to go to the beach for the first time ever and experience something new.
I’m beyond sad that I’m not with her.
The beach is a sacred space for me. My family used to take me to the beach every summer growing up. I love the beach and have dreamt of the day I could take Aris to a beach and share that experience with her.
In fact, I’ve already taken her to this beach before. Erin and I did our “babymoon trip” in Laguna. This place is already extra special to me.
I told myself to suck it up. I’m a single parent going through a divorce and am fortunate that Erin is an extremely engaged parent who I share joint custody with.
“There is nothing to be sad about, Gelie,” I tell myself as I move on with my day.
That evening, after a full day, I was talking to a friend, recapping the days’ events and shared this story with him, expressing my sadness.
I honestly don’t remember the exact conversation that transpired next, but it was along the lines of, if I want to be there with her, then make it happen. So simple. Why didn’t I already think of that?
I immediately messaged Erin’s fiancee and asked her if they would be OK with me hanging out with Aris for a few hours on Saturday if I figured out how to get to Laguna.
One thing to know about me, I’m highly sensitive to being in other people’s space, especially if I’m not comfortable or don’t feel welcome. So it was a big deal for me to ask to be in their space and a discussion point for them (they clearly have the right to not want me there).
Then she lost cell services. LOL!
… Twenty excruciating minutes later, I got the “OK” text from her and my mind went into overdrive! I had to figure out how to get to Aris. At that moment, nothing else mattered.
Long story short, around 9pm I found a flight for the following day that arrived in Laguna at 11am and departed Laguna at 7:30pm. The ticket was round-trip for ONE day and was the most expensive domestic flight I had ever purchased, and worth every penny. My mind was made up – I was going to see Aris on Saturday. We were going to jump over the ocean waves, build a sandcastle and create life-long memories. Priceless.
I’ve never done anything like this; book a ticket for a one-day trip to play in the sun. But the following morning, I got on the plane already dressed for the beach and only carrying my pink “Aris backpack” filled with the most basic beach necessities (and 2 phone chargers 😉 ).
A short flight and one podcast later, I arrived in Orange County. Got off the plane, got into an Uber car and 25 minutes later was on the beach. Boom!
The events that followed were nothing short of magical. I got to spend a few hours with my almost 4-year-old on the beach doing exactly what I had envisioned.
I am so proud of myself.
Proud because I gave myself permission to do whatever I needed to do in that moment to be happy.
Proud because I feel I prioritized properly.
Proud because the only thing that was potentially stopping me was the expense of the ticket … but who cares? It’s just money and good thing I know how to keep making it 🙂
Proud because I created the kind of life for myself where this trip was possible.
Proud because I know how meaningful this was for Aris and how much more meaningful it will be for her as she gets older and understands our family dynamics.
Proud because someday Aris will look back at this trip and know that mommy wasn’t going to miss her first time on the beach. Whatever it took … mommy was there with her.
Proud because … well, I’m not exactly friends with Erin … but we both have an understanding of always doing what’s best for Aris.
Proud because I did it.
Life is comprised of moments. Some are good, some are bad. I’ve lived enough life to know that when an opportunity comes along to create a good moment, you cease it!
This Saturday was a great moment.
It’s OK to be proud. It’s OK to give yourself permission to live how you want to live.
Check out the pictures here: http://tinyurl.com/zgasmj2
Check out the Snapchat story here: https://youtu.be/qkslCvtKNnU