3 Big Lessons from San Juan

What is my life and why am I such a terrible parent? Upon arrival to San Juan, Puerto Rico, these are the negative thoughts I had to expel from my thought loop. At some point during the three-hour flight, entry to the airport, or arrival at our hotel, one of my three children had a moment of rudeness directed at me. The oldest gave sass about our vehicle selection but tried to play it off as a joke, the middle flat out didn’t care, and the youngest simply did her best to do the opposite of each request or instruction that came her way. 

I was in a place of despair. The following day the youngest was turning four. How were we going to shift all this negativity into a celebration? Roughly two weeks prior she had the choice between Toronto or San Juan. With exuberance, she decided it was the beach for the win! Yet fast forward to my low moment sitting in a taupe faux-leather chair in my hotel room, I was baffled at how things went so sour. As you get to know me through each post, you will learn that defeat is not in my vocabulary. I’m a fighter. So the first few hours in Puerto Rico we’re going to shape me not defeat me. 

The morale was low, so husband m.d. and I removed ourselves from the chaos, retired to our room, and talked to God. One thing I’ve learned over the years of growing in faith is that if I’m willing to allow myself to seep into darkness, I should be prepared at a minimum to use my words to call out to God for help. We repented for allowing our thoughts to be negative and prayed together. 

Thought I was just capturing a moment. Turns out my son expressed how he felt unheard.

The next day there was a notable shift in the atmosphere. A restful night of sleep allowed me to process the sentiment my son shared with husband m.d. the previous night. Essentially my son shuts down due to the feeling of not being heard. Wow! That was humbling. Here I am thinking my children should be “oh so grateful for being on vacation,” but there were moments when I was dictating and not including them in it. I didn’t always treat them as equal partners in the adventures. This realization allowed for a better Day 2 in Puerto Rico. 

3 Big Lessons From San Juan:

1.) All my children have to be more included in the day-to-day itinerary of vacation. 

(i.e., Share a list of activities that interest you on this trip.) The oldest obviously vocalizes her desires, but I must remember to include the younger ones in the entire day. A list will help them draw from the planning they did at home. 

2.) A good meal is a go-to for behavioral restarts. 

3.) Eliminating screen time on the airplane is a must. This revelation has me ecstatic. I will elaborate more in a future post. Screens take my children out of their regular routine. So we did away with screens on the return flight, and it was terrific! 

Have you experienced a lesson or revelation during vacation? How did it shape your future travels? Feel free to share some inspiration below.

Many blessings,



  1. Frances L. Shavers

    August 26th, 2018 at 4:18 am

    I don’t have kids, but this was great! I love the lessons learned!



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