Over Thanksgiving I had the incredible pleasure of taking a California road trip with my youngest daughter, Alexi, who is now 30 years old. Within the week we went from southern San Diego to the northern redwood forest, east to Napa Valley and west to the Pacific Coast Highway back down to LA. The trip began by having lunch waterside in beautiful San Diego in 74 degree weather in December; which in itself was just wonderful. However, hearing my youngest daughter talk of her creative plans for her future and knowing how far she has already come with her many accomplishments started our trip off with such fond memories and a realization of what a special woman she has become.
Once we got to the largest trees in the world in “The Avenue of the Giants,” we frolicked throughout the forest like little kids. We were hugging and climbing fallen trees, driving through them, going into real tree houses and seeing incredible wood carvings created by the locals. The air was so fresh you just wanted to deeply inhale the crisp, clean evergreen scent breath after breath. We then went to Napa Valley and visited several historical wineries that looked like castles to sample both the local and more popularly known wines. From Napa we went to the west coast to drive down the PCH to see three different waterfalls in Big Sur; hiking the trails early to catch the sunrise and be the first people to arrive at the magnificent, natural sites. Along the way we saw Seal Beach – with hundreds of seals barking in delight on their own private island, and lazing around the beaches – paying no attention to the many humans gazing upon them. To see these animals so comfortable in their natural habitat and the people respecting their private space was quite a phenomenon.
Driving hours down the Pacific Coast Highway, we stopped hundreds of times to admire the perfect skyline over the ocean at sunrise and sunset taking hundreds of pictures. Our conversations went from spiritual and enlightening discussions to setting business goals and new exciting dreams, to singing out loud to the popular hits of the seventies. As a mother, seeing my little girl all grown up brought both tears to my eyes, and joy to my heart. Alexi has taught me so much about living a fearless life – from putting in ten water wells in Tanzania Africa with her charity, EPIC (Every Day People Initiating Change), to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, flying a fighter jet, and swimming with sharks, my Alexi lives life to the max, pushing the limits more than I ever did. She continues to teach me many things, like showing me how to grow my business with social media as well as how to record a podcast like hers – Transformation Nation. I silently think of the psychological stages of life, when “the child eventually becomes the teacher or parent,” a revelation emerging with the many lessons learned on this road trip. Yet Alexi often tells her friends “she is all that she has become because of her mom.” We now encourage each other to be our very best selves, to continue to grow our businesses, and share our many dreams, stories and adventures. Alexi is coauthor of our book, Live Beyond Your Dreams – from Fear and Doubt to Personal Power, Purpose and Success. She wrote her portion in her early 20s, and she is a true example of using the “Watch Me! mindset” for growth and fearless living.
It’s difficult when your children leave the family home, and every phone call and visit becomes a celebration. However, when the child becomes an adult best friend, a colleague in business, a teacher, and someone to be admired, a parent feels the most ultimate pride and pleasure of raising a loving, incredible child into a self confident and evolved adult. Just like the beautiful nature we explored together in our cherished road trip, I celebrate the nature and cycle of life – and the beautiful parent-child relationship that I am so blessed to have with both my daughters. As they were growing up, we did many road trips on our “Adventure day.” Alexi planned a fabulous adventure for me this time! I look forward to my Christmas visit with Stephana, her wonderful husband Charles, and my amazing 9-month old Grandson, Logan. Yes, spending time with family is the true treasure of the holidays – cherish this gift above all others.
Riana Mine is a Marriage/Family Therapist at Therapy by the Sea, LLC; a Certified Relationship Coach, author, and motivational speaker in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Her column, My Relationship Coach will discuss the relationship you have with yourself and others. Her free App: My Relationship Coach offers more articles and her book, Live Beyond Your Dreams – from Fear and Doubt to Personal Power, Purpose and Success, addresses relationships with yourself and others. To learn more or suggest a topic, go to www.RianaMilne.com or email RianaMilne@gmail.com. FB: Coach Riana Milne.