The Last Days of Spain

We're on the cusp of embracing our last week here in Spain.  As I sit here in my dark bedroom escaping the early evening heat streaming into our living room, I have sporadic surges of guilt running through my veins thinking of all the things I could be doing right now in Barcelona. Elliott and Eli are fulfilling their dream and at this moment basking in soccer heaven watching Barcelona demolish their opponents in their first game of the season at home. Jules being 10 years old, and knowing his limits, chose not to attend the soccer match and instead wanted to have "down time" with me at home.

This situation epitomizes our whole trip.  Traveling with kids is a completely different ball game.  If I were on my own, I'd be out and about, discovering and reveling in every new experience, knowing full well the limits of life and that this could well be my last visit to Catalonia, to Spain, to Europe....

I've had to make so many compromises on this trip and so have my husband and kids.  I've learned so much about myself and them:  I've learned that transitions are tough and we all need time to adjust to new surroundings; I've learned that we all need downtime and not just go, go, go; I've learned that no matter how much we love each other, we really need our own space too; I’ve learned that I greatly admire my kids' relationship with each other and how easy they move on and don't hold on to grudges with each other. I'm still trying to learn that we are all different and don't necessarily like the same things and to have patience with that; and I'm trying desperately to learn that fine line of where I do have control and where I need to let go -- the hardest lesson of all.

I’ve also learned that I've fallen madly in love with Spain and Catalonia.  When I was growing up in Scotland my opinions were tainted by the commercial brouhaha around places like Benidorm and Lloret de Mar.  This trip has been an education about the other side of Spain.  We have had the amazing opportunity to live like locals.  I love Madrid for its social spirit: the food, the people, the socializing that happens in the late evening in the amazing restaurants, bars and plazas.  I love the small Costa Brava towns and beaches for their raw natural beauty and history and I love Barcelona for its creativity, its independent spirit and for its art.  

Tomorrow Eli and Jules will attend another tennis camp for a week, giving Elliott and I the opportunity to work and sneak in a little extra Spanish culture, as we are fully aware that when their exhausted little bodies return to our apartment, they will no doubt prefer to have me cook barbecued chicken and watch a movie than go out to see a band play at the Festival Major de Gracia or discover another great Tapas restaurant.  So I will fully embrace these stolen moments, knowing that although my kids' preferences are not mine right now, that they are taking it all in and will be grateful one day for having been exposed to such an amazing country.

Enjoy your last days of summer...

Me and my boys, Monjuic Castle, Barcelona

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