A growing trend in my suburban world is for girls to have the equivalent of a mini-wedding for their Sweet Sixteen birthday party. To each his own, but I personally find the idea of spending buckets of cash on multiple formal dresses and a fancy event for 100 of my daughter’s acquaintances ridiculous.
When my oldest niece was having her sweet sixteen, I shared my desire to not do this for my own daughters with them. I told them I would much rather travel with them or share an experience with them, instead of dealing with the teenage drama and expense of a one-night party. Thankfully, my daughters are smart, and they both agreed. My oldest was ten years old at the time, and she said “I want to go to Paris.” I immediately said “ME TOO!” So began six years of talking about and loosely planning our trip.
Over the years, family members and friends would talk with us about the trip, and at one point, there was a long list of people who wanted to join us. I was afraid the trip would turn into a circus, and would take away from the experience. My mother approached me about a year before we were discussing going, and asked how I would feel about her joining Lauren and I, and adding London to the itinerary. My mother was a flight attendant in her after-marriage life and traveled frequently to London, and she really wanted to share her experiences with Lauren and I. To sweeten the pot, she offered to pay for a portion of the trip if we let her come along. I love my mom deeply, and the idea of sharing such an incredible travel experience with her and my daughter was intriguing. And hey, I’m no dummy, so when she offered to chip in, I was all over the idea!
I spent the next 6 months happily crafting an itinerary and in March of 2016, my mother, my oldest daughter Lauren, and I took off for 4 full days in Paris and 2 days in London. It was indeed the trip of a lifetime. Sharing this multi-generational experience is a gift all three of us will continue to enjoy in our memories forever, and for that I am very grateful. I hope you enjoy some of the snapshots of our trip.
*Daughter number two has her destination and dates selected. Kate, my mother, and I will be headed to St. Thomas for another multi-generational experience in November of 2017. If I slack off posting blog articles, it’s because I’m spending hours on TripAdvisor dreaming and planning another fantastic trip.