Last Sunday, I booked a last minute ticket to Puerto Vallarta via Los Angeles. Our family had been invited to the wedding of Rob + Jade. I met Rob in Kindergarten and became especially good friends with him in the last years of elementary. Jade, a few years behind, joined our school in grade 4 with the most adorable bangs and bob. Highschool broke us all up. While Rob disappeared into VC boy gang life, Jade contributed to me and Kevin's romance (the two ended up at St Pat's), being a carrier for our love letters or saving me a spot on the bus home from LFA to Richmond. Little did any of us know that the two of them would find happiness in one another and that our lives would be intertwined once again thanks to our firstborns being only 2 months apart, Jade's incredible talent with hair, and ok Facebook. Funny how having kids pulls you back with old friends! Must be the primal urge to join in packs and form villages for survival and sanity...
We were excited to visit Mexico for the first time and with our kids whom we knew would love the cultural experience. As winter approached as did the time to book our tickets. Kevin had just lost his job and so our plans sadly fizzled out. A week before everyone would fly out for the big day, I helped to design a few of the wedding stationery items. Having Jade over to finalize and collect all the product really broke my heart. Being the sweet understanding guy he is, Kevin pushed me to take the trip on my own while he would stay at home with the kids. It was a very easy and very tough decision, but it was made. Malcolm cried in the car as I waved good-bye to him, and I cried as I ran into the airport. I would have never left my other two kids for that long at such a young age. Actually, this was my first time going off on my own EVER and I could not have found a better ticket. My ticket had a 24 hour overlay in LA on the way to and from Puerto Vallarta which meant I could visit my sister in Cali! In addition, my good friends, The Stones, just happened to be enjoying a 2 week vacation in Puerto Vallarta at the same time. They generously welcomed me to stay with them upon arrival and before departure to/from LAX. And right smack in the middle of my visit, I would join the wedding party in their digs at wedding night's end. Perfect.
I arrived in LA at 7pm. We stopped by Forever 21 to grab a hat and sunglasses (I completely forgot to pack my own…) and ordered Italian takeout. It was a brief visit but such a joy to squeeze my big sister and blast old school HIP HOP down the freeway, just like the good old days when I would fly down to visit her in my pre-family days. It's been 8 years!
The flight to PVR was FANTASTIC. I DIDN'T HAVE ANY KIDS WITH ME AND I got to sit in peace with a coffee and a chocolate croissant and watch James Bond Spectre completely undisturbed. In fact, I didn't even get to see the last minutes of it because the flight was over. Luxury.
We landed. My head was tingling, electric currents seemed to be gently running up and down my arms as I walked through the corridors of PVR to its arrival gates. I spotted Brock behind the glass and I ran. I made it! I was really here! This was really happening! I was in shock as we hugged and walked out into the blinding sunlight. The heat started to sink in and it felt glorious. We hopped into their Green Ferrari (a tiny little 90's style Chevy) and booted it to their Dad's high-rise condo...
We headed out to Old Vallarta for dinner. I sat in the back with the boys, checking out the architecture, the little shops and kids riding in the back of pick-up trucks, palm trees palm trees palm trees. We parked and walked down "The Seawall", enjoying the warm evening breeze and a fiery sunset. My diet for 3-4 days was Margaritas/Tequila Shots and Tacos. I'm still not over it. We took turns eating and minding the boys. I took my Margarita in a TO GO cup because I had barely dented it and was already quite tipsy. We took a walk around town, stopping into a bar that was advertising karaoke. The boys bravely sang BEAT IT and LAND DOWN UNDER! Definitely something to cross of their Bucket List!
This trip was off to a great start… Next up THE WEDDING!