Traveling usually offers a great opportunity to spend time surrounded by babies, toddlers, and children of just about any age. That’s because most of the places we go, we can usually count on having friends or family living there — it’s definitely one of the benefits of working in international development. This means we can usually stay at their homes rather than having to camp out in sterile hotel rooms. Because most of our friends are at the age where they’re beginning to have families of their own, it’s nice to return to them and discover how quickly their children are growing, and to be able to spend some quality time getting to know them again. Sometimes you can feel a little sadness in their voices, because they know how difficult the path to building a family has been for us. For us, it’s a shame, because we’re nothing but happy for them; thankful that that their families came to life for them quickly and that we are able to spend time with them.
Trips to Panama, where we both go for work, are a perfect example of how we’ve witnessed how Santiago, Adrian, Valentina, and all the others have grown over the years — and it’s particularly amazing how Maria has managed to bond with all of them. For us, waking up in the morning with their laughter in the background is priceless. The same can be said for walking in the living room still half-asleep and having them run up to wrap their little arms around her legs and grabbing her by the hand to take her to play, or to the sofa for her to feed them breakfast. We’re thankful for having these moments and opportunities, and we dream of the day that those little hands guiding us to breakfast will belong to our own children.
On a day-to-day basis, we’re lucky to have friends with kids in Manhattan as well. We happily watch over them when called upon, and recently we had Lucas at our home for a morning that was full of fun and memories such as introducing him to the guitar, walking Yinga in the park, reading stories, playing with his cars, and enjoying the patio with the his scooter. Now we are planning a pajama party with Luca and Maia, who are dying to come over to spend some time with their favorite cat.
Soon we will be heading to Spain for our summer holiday break, where we will get to hang out with Maria’s nieces and nephews. For this occasion her family is organizing a big family reunion at her grandparents family summer house.