Catherine Anaya

A mother’s – and daughter’s – dream come true

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Growing up with little money meant no traveling. I didn’t board a plane for the first time until I was 17, and it was a quick southern-to-northern California trip. And the older I got, the more I’d thirst for an adventure away from home – to anywhere.

That venturesome spirit is something I didn’t want my kids to wait to catch. I wanted them growing up with it from the get-go. Family laughed when I took my 18-month old daughter from Phoenix to Disney World in Florida.

“Why are you spending all that money when she’s not going to remember it anyway?” they’d say. Well, we had the best time! And while she may not remember it now as a 13-year-old, she has plenty of photos of her smiling face to remind her of that special first trip. Since then, I’ve take her to New York, Dallas, Puerto Rico, Cancún, Cabo San Lucas, San Diego, Boston, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., Miami, Fort Lauderdale, San Jose, San Francisco, Maui, Maryland, Charleston, and Las Vegas.

With the exception of a few of those trips, we took all of them with my mother, three generations of Latinas whooping it up together in new places, creating forever memories.

Each year I try to take my daughter some place new. This past spring break was by far the most special.

Back in second grade, she did her first geography report on Argentina. She fell in love with the country and, since then, has considered it her dream destination. She did a similar report in fifth grade. I silently vowed to one day fulfill her dream.

Last fall, I wandered into her classroom and noticed each student had posted answers to questions about themselves. I enthusiastically read hers and when I got to the question, “What’s your favorite place you haven’t been to?” where she had written “Argentina,” I just knew, right then and there, I had to make it happen. Before I blink she’ll be off to college, and we might miss the opportunity.

I started saving, asked for the time off from work, and happily called her this past January to tell her we were taking a spring-break vacation – just the two of us.

You can’t imagine her reaction when I told her I was taking her to Argentina, from, “Are you serious??” to “OMG, I can’t believe it! That’s my dream!”

We had an amazing time of fun, bonding, exploring, and embracing Buenos Aires and Iguazu. She took pictures; ate lots of steak; watched a tango performance, and took a tango lesson with me. She walked inside the soccer stadium; saw where Eva Perón is buried; fell in love with empanadas and alfajores (dulce de leche and chocolate cookies). She took a jungle tour of Iguazu National Forest and a boat ride for an up-close-and-personal drenching directly under the Iguazu Falls.

More importantly, she enriched her love of traveling and embracing other cultures.

She must have thanked me a million times, but nothing made my heart burst more than hearing her say, “I know, Mom! Let’s go to Spain next year!” She’s learning to step outside her comfort zone and realizing that dreams do come true.

Mother’s Day for me isn’t always about what my children can do for me – but what I can do for them.

Anaya is a three-time Emmy award-winning journalist and CBS 5 News anchor. She’s also a motivational speaker and marathon runner. You can reach her at canaya@kpho.com

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