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The joys of ME-time

So there I was one afternoon a few weeks ago, floating in a cenote (pronounced suh-no-tee—it’s a natural limestone sinkhole, filled with clear and cool spring water) in the Riviera Maya in Mexico. We snorkled, admired the fish, oohed at the mangroves around us, and drifted a mile or so down the river to the ocean. And at some point during this bliss, I thought, “Oh, the kids must be getting home from school about now.”

That’s right. The “we” in that sentence above did not include my kids or my husband. I’d left them up in New York (in 20 degree weather, no less) and flown by myself to a gorgeous resort called Hacienda Tres Rios for four heavenly days. Did I feel guilty? You bet. Did I love it? You bet.

I adore my family beyond measure, I miss them while I’m gone, I’m so very happy to get home to them—but it’s really a treat to travel by myself. Here are some of the things I liked:

• Walking through the airport, unweighed down by Kate’s hoodie and Alex’s backpack, picking out snacks for me-and-only-me, going to the ladies’ room without having to say, “Sit here with the luggage. Stay. Really, don’t move.”
• Staying in a hotel (and boy, the rooms at this resort are lovely—floors of Yucatan marble, Mexican mahogany furniture, amazing showers…) with no cartoons on the TV, no towels on the floor, and never having to find someone’s sandal/cell phone/swimsuit/etc.
• Taking long early-morning walks in the resort’s tropical nature park (I saw a monkey! And a Yucatan Jay, so pretty I gasped), at my own pace—fast—
plugged into my iPod and not needing to keep track of anyone else.
• Reading whole chapters of my book at a time.
• At meals, not worrying about what my picky-eater kids (and husband!) were going to eat. (God, the food at this place—a big shout-out to the dashing Chef Oscar for his imaginative, delicious cuisine).

But here’s what I would have liked, if they’d been there:

• Having someone else see the monkey and the Yucatan Jay, so that I could say, “Remember when we saw…?”
• Swimming with them in the fabulous pools—they’re cool abstract shapes, and we could’ve had some killer games of hide and seek in them at night!

• Making sandcastles on the wide, peaceful beach—not something I’d do by myself.
• Showing them the coati that strolled by while we were at the Mayan ruins nearby.

• Having people to snuggle with—by the second night, that bed felt mighty big and empty.

And by the end of the trip, I missed them so much I ached. But all in all—it was incredibly rejuvenating to take a giant step out of my hamster-wheel life for a few days.

(You’ll certainly be hearing more about Hacienda Tres Rios: It’s beyond beautiful, family-owned and -operated, and being constructed in an impressively eco-friendly way. Luxurious and green—great combination!)