One thing I am really proud of is that Sienna was truly made with love, and now I'm a single parent that is something I really want her to know as she grows up. The separation from Sienna's dad, Cristián, was really hard and I never thought I would be open about it. Something which has made it easier to deal with is trying to raise Sienna as selflessly as possible and showing her love in everything I do for her, even if that is discipline (not easy).
I read an article a while ago which said that for the sake of our children, parents must display love for one another. This doesn't have to mean romantic love (although that would be great too), but love in the form of good energy and kind and respectful behaviour. I for one have memories of conflict and upset between my parents during my childhood, and I believe that we must work together as a team to maintain the balance between love and fear.
Cristián and I are far from being an exemplary example of surviving the other single parent, but I think we owe the best we possibly can to that little girl we made with love. Because that love is a fact and cannot be changed.
Earlier this year Sienna and I travelled to Miami to meet her dad and grandparents arriving from Chile. Coming from a single parent family myself, and knowing what it is like to grow up without my father around (which was subsequently something I craved), I have always had an extra desire to try and make this work for Sienna. It's just not easy when we are at opposite sides of the world!
I found that one of the things which put great strain on my relationship with Cristián was when we were either in England or Chile. When either one of us had the advantage of having a full sense of belonging, with family around, and in the end visa difficulties made it a practical nightmare. My happiest moments of our relationship were when it was just us, travelling, or living in France which is where we met. Neutral territory. It was new and exciting and scary for both of us. We loved that thrill of discovering, getting lost, and experiencing new sensations.
It seemed to make sense that travel would play a big part in our journey together as a coparenting trio. Well obviously, right? But choosing to go into the unknown, taking risks, maintaining faith and trying (most of the time) to make it fun and enjoyable is a recipe for growth and evolution! That's what co-parent travel is all about. Practise makes progress.
I had such amazing memories of our trip to Atacama desert that I wanted to recreate those sensations, this time with our daughter. After Miami, we flew to Phoenix where we discovered that Sienna had chickenpox, but proceeded on our road trip cross-country anyway. We covered 1,600 miles in 6 days ending in San Francisco. From there we flew up to Seattle, which marked the end of our three-week trip together.
In any relationship, the past needs to be let to lie just like that beautiful Atacamaña sunset up at the beginning of this article, and we should strive to "love" each other for our children.
I love that we did this trip. We had ups and downs and lost our tempers when we shouldn't have done but we were also far more patient and respectful with each other too, which is essentially the example we want to set for Sienna. I hope we get to meet halfway again and again, and co-parent travel for the good of our little girl.