There are many reasons why my husband, Gilberto and I decided to remain in Mexico after we had children. Once you fall in love in Puerto Vallarta, you kind of also fall in love WITH Puerto Vallarta. There’s something about watching sunsets over the ocean with the sand between your toes, mariachi music floating by. It kind of whispers “stay right where you are” directly in your ear.
But not only were we in love in the most romantic place on earth, but we were experiencing a lifestyle that was almost ideal. I worked at an amazing school that believed in my abilities as a teacher, and allowed me to develop the program the way I knew how. They also believed in their teachers having a personal life and reasonable working hours. Gilberto was busy every night during the high season, it’s true, but spent the days preparing music and cooking food for me. What else could any woman want?
We felt like having children here would allow us to prioritize our family and have an easy, low-cost life next to the beach, which is a natural playground. Little by little it became apparent that we were fairly naïve about the “easy” part. Child-rearing is not easy, anywhere, anytime. Plus, the idea of kids being low-cost is absolutely hilarious.
- A) They eat a lot of food.
- B) They always want to do things.
- C) All things cost money. ALL THE THINGS.
I still want to believe we made the right decision to raise them here, even when I feel like we are living the same busy life we would have in Canada. But today I feel like I woke up from a dream, similar to the one I have where we are racing around in circles, in a clown car (it’s always a clown car), never getting to our destination.
I woke up with the “splat” sound the crepe made when the dog pulled it off the table and started to eat it when he thought I wasn’t looking. I made the crepes in a hurry, because we had to meet friends at the water park in an hour. I didn’t have time to make any more because the batter was gone, so now we were short one.
I fought off the probably insane urge to dust it off and cut off the tooth marks, and got out the pumpkin bread I made yesterday. I was also in a hurry when I made it, because we had to get to the Farmer’s Market downtown to buy a gift before it closed.
And if we were late to the water park, then… then… what? What exactly would happen if we were late to the beautiful water park where my kids would still certainly play for hours? What would happen if we missed the Farmer’s Market that takes place every week and is surrounded by artisans’ markets which are open every single day?
So I can answer these questions right now. Nothing would happen. I could slow down and throw my dog another pet-shaming stare from his safe space in the guest bedroom. I could take a shower and answer seven questions that my kids and my husband call to me from the other side of the bathroom door. I could eat pumpkin bread, which isn’t bad despite the fact that I didn’t bake it long enough in my hurry yesterday. I could put some black beans in the crock pot and give my husband instructions on how to make sure they don’t burn while I’m gone, which he’ll totally remember when the smoke creeps up the stairs in four hours.
And I think I have an extra minute to give that man a squeeze. I’ll even throw in a backward glance and a smile as I head out the door, because now I remember why we decided to make our home here in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in the first place.