This Mother's Day, I can't help but remember the trip to Europe I recently took with the three best mothers I know: my mom and two sisters, Chris and Sandy. Last fall, the four of us, plus Sandy's son Desmond, traveled to Crete, Paris, and London. In the past, we've managed a few weekend getaways, but to pull off a vacation of this size, well, we needed a little assistance.
The first assist came from Chad, Sandy's husband, who currently serves on an Air Force base outside of London. He not only gave us an excuse to cross the pond, but he allowed us to steal his wife and son away to cruise around Greece and Paris.
The second assist came from Ben, Chris' husband, who cooked up the idea of a European vacation for his wife as a Christmas gift in 2014. And when it came time for us to leave the following September, he juggled the tasks of going to work, taking care of their two daughters, and managing all household duties, solo, for three weeks. (His efforts involving failed meals, daily trips to the grocery store, and a dead dog deserve their own blog post.)
Our vacation officially started on September 21 when we converged paths at Heathrow International, bawled our eyes out and jumped around like crazy people in the middle of Terminal 3, and fought off jet lag in search of our gate to depart for Crete, Greece.
We spent the first week of our vacation in a sleepy village a few miles east of Rethymno. Mom found the perfect villa that allowed us to spend our first week relaxing like Greek Goddesses. We drank Bacardi around our pool for Sandy's birthday; sunned ourselves in warm water; wandered cobbled streets; and dined on the freshest produce and seafood. We fell in love with Greece, a country tucked into the clear, aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean and filled with hospitable, genuine people.
I'm not sure whether we should thank our conscience or curiosity for being our guide, but a few days into relaxation, we decided a trip to Greece would not be complete without a little exploration. So, we planned an adventure, old-school style. Armed with nothing but the shitty little map provided by the car rental company, we hopped in our klunker and set out for Arkadi Monastery, the ruins near Eleutherna, and Margarites, a quaint village known for its pottery.
Between the horrible map and our gutless ride, it's a miracle we made it to any of these sites, let alone all three. Sandy, the designated driver, had struggled transitioning between first and second gear all week. Once we left the flatlands and hit the narrow, windy roads in the foothills near Mount Ida, the car really gave her hell. (We rolled backwards down one hill three times before we made it to the top. I wish I had a photo of the bewildered, old man who came out of his house to watch the debacle. As Sandy cursed the car, the rest of us howled as we watched the man's head swivel, back and forth, as we attempted to drive up the hill.)
Ladies, I won't ever forget our wonderful week in Greece, or the two that followed in Paris and England.
Happy Mother's Day, and thank you for the trip of a lifetime!