Seeing the world from a different view

A few summers ago, my mother and I took an incredible trip to the South of France with friends to celebrate my 40th birthday. At first, I was hesitant to go. I had never traveled without my children before. I struggled with the thought of being so far away for so long. As the trip drew closer, my anxiety over leaving increased. My husband reminded me the trip was a great opportunity to visit an area where I have never been. It was also a chance for my mother and me to spend quality time together.

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When I was in college my mother and I traveled a lot together during school breaks. We both have a passion for exploring new places and learning about different cultures. As hard as it was to envision the journey without my children, I wanted the chance to share the experience with my mother. Not to mention, she was nearly 70 at the time, although she doesn't look or act it at all. The women still shops at Forever 21 for crying out loud. 

The trip  was spectacular! My mother speaks fluent French and lived in France for many years. I couldn't have asked for a better tour guide. We drove from Juan- les- Pins to Saint-Tropez. Actually, I drove while the women screamed at every windy turn through the mountain. I admit it got a little dicey at times, as the cliffs are steep and the roads are very narrow. I felt so adventurous in the driver's seat. I didn't have to worry about two little people sitting safely in their booster seats. It was just me, the steering wheel and a killer view.

I wouldn't say I didn't miss my kids or cry at the site of them on Skype, but I wasn't devastated over not having them with me. I actually enjoyed being on my own, having the freedom to do whatever I wanted! Taking the time to just be me was priceless. I was also grateful for the time spent with my mother.

After nearly two weeks, I returned to my children, who were still in one piece. I could tell they missed me and I was thrilled to be home with them. For the next few days I showered them with gifts, stories and endless affection. 

Within a month of my return from France, my mother-in-law suddenly passed away at the age of 66. She had no health issues and was probably more fit than your average 30-year-old. She simply went to sleep and never woke up. My family and I were devastated at the loss of my husband's mother. It forced us to face just how fragile life can be and that there are no guarantees for tomorrow; all the more reason to live for today. I'm so thankful I took that trip with my mother and looking forward to the next one with the entire family.

Here are some fun moments from the trip if you would like to take a look...