Christina Montoya Fiedler

We’ve Never Left Our Children For More Than A Night In Over 10 Years

I have a confession to make. It's been a really long time since my husband and I have had a break. I mean a really, really long time. We get the occasional date night but, I'm talking about a trip that allows us to reconnect and relax as ourselves not just mom and dad. We've never left our children for more than a night and our oldest is ten. But this vacation changed everything.

My husband and I were in desperate need for some alone time that lasted more than 24 hours. So, when we were given the opportunity to travel to Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos, we literally jumped at the chance. We haven't been gone this long since... well, forever.

Truth be told, it's been a rough year. My husband lost his job and was out of work for six months. Our youngest was diagnosed with a severe tree nut allergy. We both lost people in our lives whom we loved very much. And, unfortunately, the list goes on. So if anyone needed a break, it was definitely us.

Now let's go back, people. Way back to the 90s when MTV still showed music videos and butterfly hair clips were cool.

My husband and I met in college — I was in my second year and he was in his first. The year was 1999 and people were super worried about the Y2K bug, Star Wars: Episode I was in theaters, and 9/11 was still an unthinkable event.

Fast forward twenty years... my, how things have changed! We're married with two boys, living life in the heart of Los Angeles. Here are a few lessons we learned along the way thanks to this much needed vacation.

We Forgot What Air Travel Without Kids Is Like

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My husband's family lives out of state, so we fly together quite often. Sometimes we fly on the busiest flying days of the year for the holidays. With two kids, flying takes a lot of planning. There's snacks to be bought beforehand (airport ones are too expensive!), toys to keep the kids distracted, plus all the other odds and ends that really add up.

Not this time. We had one suitcase and one carry on between the two of us. Check in and security were a breeze. We had cocktails and read our books on the plane. Then we slept. That was a miracle in and of it itself. I never sleep on the plane because the kids never sleep until the last fifteen minutes of the flight.

Someone Else Took Care Of Us... For A Change

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As parents, it's all about taking care of the kids. But if you aren't refreshed and happy, what kind of parent would you be? I really needed to ask myself this question on the trip. So, I leaned in to all the luxuries.

And let me tell you, Beaches really takes care of you — plush bathrobes in the room, evening turndown services, tropical drinks at our beck and call, eating whenever and wherever we felt like it, and lounging in beachside cabanas. I'm getting teary eyed just thinking about it. It was that magical.

Now, it might have been the fantasy setting, or it could have been reconnecting with my husband. I'm gonna say it's a little bit of both. One thing is for sure, we won't be waiting this long for our next solo vacation.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Enjoy The View

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The views from our room were absolutely gorgeous. We've never seen water that clear, sand so white, or flora and fauna so tropical. We were quickly falling in love with Turks and Caicos and our trip was just getting started.

There's nothing like walking onto your balcony and seeing one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life.

Kid Food Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

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When we eat out with the kids, it's usually the same old thing. There are thousands of restaurants in Los Angeles, but we end up haunting the same spots because it's comfortable and we know the kids will eat. Let me tell you, we didn't go near a bowl of mac and cheese, hamburger, hot dog, or chicken nugget the entire trip. Beaches Turks and Caicos has 21 different restaurants to choose from. Yep, twenty one.

Sadly, we weren't able to try them all — but I think we got a good taste of what the place had to offer. We enjoyed sashimi at Soy, Habatchi at Kimonos, fresh seafood at Schooners, and lighter fare at Barefoot By The Sea. No kid food for us on this trip!

There's Something To Be Said About Doing Nothing

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It's been a long time since we've really relaxed. In fact, we kind of forgot how to relax after years and years of constantly being on the go with the kids, jobs, and endless to do lists. But this trip really forced us to kick back. Beaches Turks and Caicos is situated on Grace Bay, one of the calmest and cleanest, shores on the island.

We enjoyed just sitting in silence with nothing between us but the rush of the surf. That's the beautiful thing about being together for all these years. We can be together without talking or doing anything. Just being is enough.

Just Because Your Kids Aren't With You, Doesn't Mean You Won't Be Reminded Of Them At Every Turn

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When we first arrived, we were really homesick for our kids. They cried their little eye balls out when we left, and I was worried that my mom and dad wouldn't be able to handle the next morning with all the pre-school preparations that go down on the day-to-day.

This place totally caters to kids with a water park, swim up soda bar, cool beach activities, and themed Sesame Street parades and shows. At every turn there's something for them to do, which made us come to the conclusion that we'd have to come back with them soon.

But, it was also the perfect place for us to reconnect. The Caribbean is a pretty romantic place, after all!

(Side note: Props to my mom and dad for living at our house and taking care of the kids while we were on our trip. The kids barely missed us, and they were actually pretty sad when it was time for their grandparents to go home. They were living the good life with gramma and papa for sure.)

Getting Back To Real Life Sucks

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As soon as we landed back in Los Angeles, I immediately felt the change. No more tropical air. No more smell of beautiful island flowers. And more importantly, no one was greeting me curbside with a fresh rum punch to quench my thirst, or a cold hand towel to wipe down after a long flight. Talk about being spoiled. Also, there's no such thing as all-inclusive back in the real world. We were so used to going to whatever restaurant we wanted and walking away when done, that we almost did that when we were stopping for food on our way home!

We Wouldn't Change Anything For The World

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Despite all that, life at home is pretty darn good, and we wouldn't change it for the world. We are forever a party of four, and I'm proud of where all of us are in our lives right now.

One son is headed to first grade, the other fifth, my husband gainfully employed, and me doing all the stuff I do from day to day. But, another Beaches vacation just might be in order next summer. Because relaxing as a family might be the key to happiness.