I’m currently in Dominican Republic with my son Robby, 14, on a Hero Holiday. When my children were little I would fantasize about taking a trip with each of my sons the year they each turned 14. I thought this would be the perfect age. They would be old enough that we would have many travel options and young enough that they would be willing to travel alone with their mother. Another key element in my fantasy was that they would be responsible for deciding where we should go. My husband agreed it was a great idea as he knew the hours he would be spending sharing his passion for hockey and this would be an opportunity for me to share my love of travel and besides we had 10+ years to prepare!
Well the years flew by much more quickly than we ever anticipated here I am on the trip I dreamed about with Robby, my second oldest son. Like his older brother, he chose for us to come on one of LiveDifferent’s Hero Holidays to the Dominican Republic and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Just as they did two years ago, my entire family has made sacrifices so the two of us can enjoy this trip together. Again the investment has given us a priceless return.
A Hero Holiday was not the kind of trip I originally anticipated taking all those years ago. Yes, it involves us traveling together to a different part of the world but no, it hasn’t been the opportunity for the two of us to indulge alone time together deciding each day what to do and see. Instead we’ve become teammates working alongside each other with the goal of improving the living situation of people who were initially strangers to us. We’ve shared a schedule that’s been carefully planned for us and 17 other members.
We’ve been introduced to pushing ourselves to think about the world around us in a different way and we’ve been asked to work hard and play hard. As a parent I could have never imagined all I have learned about Robby by watching him meet the demands of this trip: to build relationships with teammates from all over Canada, to build relationships with the trip staff and leaders and to build relationships with people who live in a community far away from our own. The joy in seeing him work just as hard to mix cement as he does to find a translator so he can find out more about the friends he’s meeting around the work site. I see it in the sweat beading on his skin and the huge smile on his face as he works as hard as he can to make a difference for his new friend in a community that now doesn’t seem so distant.
This Hero Holiday has been so much more than any trip I could of envisioned taking with my son all those years ago. This trip has shown me what a terrific young man my baby boy has become. A young man his entire family is very proud of.