All summer long, I have been dreading August and back-to-school season. The thought of sending my twin girls off to kindergarten has been looming over me like a dark cloud. I have never been one to love change and this is a big one. I am mourning the end of a season and anxious about the beginning of a new one.
To commemorate the end of this era, my cousin and I planned a surprise trip for our five-year-olds to Charleston, South Carolina. The girls adore all things fancy and anything that feels grown-up, so we knew they would be thrilled. Our sisters came too (aka the cool aunts) and our “big girls” got to go on their first real girls’ trip.
This was a trip that the me of just a few years ago could have only dreamed about.
Traveling with twins has never been the easiest thing to accomplish and something I certainly used to be scared to do alone. My husband and I have made it work, but it has always felt like a lot of work with all the planning, packing, and trying to schedule travel around the needs of two little girls.
This trip was different though. It was a whole new world. Picture this: no swim diapers, no pack and plays, no slumber pods, no baby monitors, no baby formula, or diaper bags. I got to pack so light. We stayed up late and skipped naps. I was able to go full “fun-mom” with sugary snacks and ice cream at 10pm. I found myself saying “yes” more than I ever have before. I got to watch one of my favorite childhood movies with my girls for the very first time. They learned to sing Spice Girls lyrics at the top of their lungs, and they got to spend quality time with me, their cousins and aunt.
I got to see them be genuinely impressed with visiting a new city and saw them get excited about the activities we did. We were able to do a lot of walking all over the city with no strollers to lug around. There was so much less planning ahead and we could even be a little bit spontaneous. They sat still and listened for an entire hour on a carriage ride through the city. And after that, we drove to Sullivan’s Island and swam in the ocean and searched for sand dollars. We were able to eat at restaurants that weren’t Chick-fil-A and shop at stores with fragile merchandise.
Sure, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Meltdowns happened, and I made plenty of mistakes along the way. The Charleston heat brought out the worst in us a few times, and I made a huge blunder when I forgot to bring water with us one day. Overall, though, it was a very special experience that felt like more fun than work. In a lot of ways, it was a window into the future and a glimpse of all the things we will be able to do as they continue to grow and mature.
This trip made me realize that maybe I have been focusing on the wrong thing. I have been dreading my girls growing up so much that I haven’t stopped to appreciate the fact that so much has gotten easier and more fun in different ways. I will never be able to freeze time and it will always seem like they are growing up much too quickly. But I am going to do my best to enjoy the new seasons of their lives as they come and recognize that my girls growing up isn’t all bad.