I’ve written about the fifth grade field trip to D.C. a few times, but I don’t know that I got to the heart of it yet.  Sure it was cold and exhausting, with days as long as the IRS tax code, and there were moments of pure pain when my back decided to act up.

And yet…

It occurs to me that I haven’t had that sort of one on one time with Bear or T-man since, well, ever.  Last year BrightSide took T-man to D.C. so technically it was just us girls at home, but we were going about our regular lives.  There’s nothing like traveling together to really get to know someone.

Bear and I spent every waking (and sleeping) moment together from 6:30 Sunday morning to 11:45 Tuesday night.  Just me and her (and a hundred other people or so), no buffer zone, nowhere to hide.  And it turns out my daughter – my very hormonal, somewhat unpredictable, sweet natured and smart daughter – is a lot of fun to hang out with.

Not only did I get to see her hanging out with her friends but she got to see me hanging out with other parents, listening in as I shifted into adult mode.  I got to see how she’s affected by the social dynamic in her grade, how her behavior shifts based on who she’s around, and she noticed the same sort of things about me.

But most of all, we were in it together.  We could complain and be miserable or we could joke around and have fun; we chose the latter, and our travel experience was richer for it.

It’s easy for me to recognize how I see Bear differently now.  Lucky for me, she was kind enough to clue BrightSide in from her perspective.  Sometime last week she turned to him and said, “You know who I’d want to spend a whole day with?  Gem.  But also mom.  She’s really funny, you know.”

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.