Everyone sees their parents in a certain way. That special relationship between a parent and a child is an inescapable part of life that requires love, devotion and hard work to grow as the kind of love that defines what it means to be a family.
Like most teenagers in the 10th grade, I saw my parents as an obstacle when it came to Friday nights and being with my friends. So naturally when my parents told me I would be spending my spring break in Puerto Rico alone with them and have no cell service, I was very disappointed.
On the bright side, I would be in Puerto Rico, so I devised a plan. I would try to ignore the annoying quirks of my parents making best of my first (almost) out-of-country experience. To my pleasant surprise, I was able to enjoy myself the first day. I could not help but be enthralled by the surreal Puerto Rican paradise. We had outings planned together every day. We visited ancient forts El Morro and San Cristobal, soft brown sugar beaches, high fashion shops, and saw the Cathedral of San Juan where Ponce De Leon is buried in Old San Juan. We hiked four hours through the El Yunque NationalRainforest,saw La Mina Falls,and examined tree sap that burns like turpentine. Slowly my grip on 21st century technology began to slip away and instead of wanting to text my friends I looked forward to night canoeing on a bioluminescent bay.
By the time Thursday rolled around, I actually was excited about going on a zip line through the El Yunque. As I strapped into my harness and watched mom and dad make a fool of themselves, I realized I was having fun- with my parents! I was not just seeing a different view of them in a literal way, though it was pretty hilarious to see mom helplessly trying to pull herself along the course and dad zooming by in his little shorts, but I was also seeing that they were just so much more to me than ordinary people. I was starting to see that my parents were, had always been, and would always be, special to me.
It was not until our last day in Puerto Rico that I finally understood the change I had experienced throughout the week. I wanted to go horseback riding along the edge of the El Yunque in the morning before our flight back to Atlanta. I was a little disappointed when my parents said they did not want to go. To my surprise, however, they said I could go with another family we had met while doing the Zip Line, but the surprise was on me because I missed my family. The entire time I was on the trail, I wished my parents would have been there to share this last image of Puerto Rico with me, but the joy I felt at seeing them when I returned to the hotel was one of the happiest reunions.
While in Puerto Rico, I discovered a lot about life outside the United States, learned the local culture and history of Puerto Rico, experienced natural phenomena and even tasted a plantain, but it is what I realized about my parents that changed me the most. Something about the magic of Puerto Rico made me see the love that they shower me with everyday. It took riding bareback down a tropical rainforest alone to recognize that my love for them was more beautiful than the rising of a Puerto Rico Sun.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.