For my entire adult life I feel like I've been waiting to feel like an adult. As a kid I thought it was something that happened miraculously overnight - as if the moment you turn eighteen years old, a wealth of wisdom and maturity washes over you, and in that instant you know how to do things like balance cheque books and flawlessly leave answering machine messages, and buy a house, and not feel awkward in most social interactions. But, at least in my experience, it isn't like that. Instead you reach adulthood, and continue to feel like you're an eighteen year old for the next ten years, fumbling about as you take on more responsibilities - job, home, car, bills - make hard life decisions, awkwardly talk to other pretend-adults, never really entirely feeling like you know what you're doing. At age 28, I've very much come to the realization that this is what being an adult is: Not knowing what you're doing, but just chugging along anyway, figuring it out as you go along.
And as it turns out, being a parent is much like being an adult. But it sort of helps to distract from the not-knowing-what-you're-doing. And funny enough, the making-it-up-as-you-go is an important skill to have mastered as a mother, as so much of my day is learning to adapt and be flexible with the needs and temperament of a growing toddler. Making-it-up-as-you-go is just the right speed with kids, since making plans will rarely ever go as planned.
Which, I think, is why we've always travelled so successfully with Ramona. We visited Montreal for a few days in mid-September with little agenda, except to explore, visit friends, and share our favourite city with Ramona. There would be naps and emergency diaper changes, unscheduled breaks to dance to Peruvian street musicians and the occasional meltdown - things that would "get in the way" of travelling if we let them, but with no agenda, there were no interruptions. We didn't even stop to take many photos. Even though our pace was slower than previous visits sans-toddler, I didn't feel that we saw or experienced any less. Our blank itinerary made our trip a happy one.
I shared on Instagram that significance of walking these same gardens at the Chateau Ramezay in Ville-Marie.
"A little over two years ago, Patricio and I were dreaming of a little baby - a girl or boy, equal parts of each of us. We had been trying to make that dream a reality for six months (which is nothing compared to how long some wait, but it felt like an eternity).
And, so, a little over two years ago, we took a vacation from wondering and worrying if it would ever happen, and went to Montreal - the same place we honeymooned six years ago. I started to feel a little strange during our stay, but shrugged it off to travel (I found out I was pregnant two weeks later). We did as we always did, and walked for miles through charming neighbourhoods, visited old churches, stayed up and slept in late, were carefree.
While we were there we walked this same garden in Old Montreal, making this the second time we've been here together with our dream baby, which just amazes me. It all amazes me - that I co-created her, grew and nourished her, and that she continues to add new meaning to life, to old places, and to spaces in time when I didn't even know her yet."
It seemed like everywhere we went in Montreal people stopped us in the street with exclamations "Petite poupee" "Qu'elle est mignonne!" She was greeted so often that she started saying "Allo!" to anyone that we passed. So you can imagine the amount of attention that she received wearing this darling black dress from Tortoise & the Hare Clothing dress as she climbed (nearly all of) the 283 steps of St Joseph's Oratory. It was impossible to pass anyone without a few passing words, a smile, or to have her photograph taken (someone even tried to pick her up).
St. Joseph's Oratory is the largest church in Canada, and truly an amazing sight in person. It was difficult to leave such a beautiful place, especially with Ramona crying as we eventually had to tear her away from all those flights of stairs.
We spent our last few hours in Montreal at the Botanical Gardens, especially within the Chinese and Japanese gardens. It wasn't in the plan to stay as late as we did, but as the time started to near that we wanted to hit the road, we saw that the sun was getting low and decided to stay a little longer. And we're so glad that we did, because getting to see the Gardens of Light exhibit was the perfect end to our stay.