I needed a break.  She did too.

It’s been a long winter and a March Break without some adventure is no break at all. So, I booked the room that morning and we packed our bags in five minutes, jumped in the car and headed for Toronto. Mother-daughter time in the big city.

Spontaneity is vital to me, even when the budget is tight. The way I figure it, I can always make more money, but I cannot make more time with my daughter. Two days to play was an investment in our spirits; that which makes us similar and that which makes us unique. Middle ground is where we remember the powerful connection of us.

With my son off playing rugby in the United Kingdom (hence the tight budget), I knew my daughter would be at home alone for the week. She never complained. She was content to be in her introverted glory, with Netflix and the treasures of the pantry all to herself. Besides, her brother promised to bring her back presents.

Still, no matter how old my kids get, I feel bad when I can’t spend time with them during school holidays. I feel bad about a lot of things, like not being able to afford trips to Cuba or the time off work to actually go to Cuba.

First world problems of the working-class, I know, but this writer could really use a tan and a dip in the ocean. Or, as it turns out, a few laps in a hotel swimming pool, free mini soaps and one glorious night of soft pillows in a giant bed with no snoring spouse.

Worth it.

Sometimes a change of scenery and a whole 24 hours of anonymity is all I need. My girl agrees. We are kindred spirits that way.

For us, there is nothing like the thrill of blending in to the crowds on city streets, watching the spectrum of cultures blend together, where colourful personalities and stand-out differences add to the pulse of the city.

We eavesdropped on conversations, trying to guess the myriad of languages overheard. We made a sport of people-watching, observing the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty at every intersection.  Everyone walks with a purpose there, even those who seem to have lost theirs. It’s fascinating.

For two sensory-sensitive souls, there is something wonderful about the gush of air from the brakes of the buses as they stop to unload passengers and the ting-ting of the streetcars heading along the streets.  The way the subway blows into the station and messes up our hair, and the dizzy joy of subway surfing (our term for standing in the subway car and not holding on to anything). And the smell that belches from the street grates. Gross, but ah, part of the city life.

From the bright lights at night to the way the city comes to life in the morning rush, we noticed everything. It’s a big world and we could disappear into it together, if only for awhile.

Sometimes you need a change of scenery to appreciate your view and those who share it. Memories don’t happen on a schedule. I believe spontaneity is good for the soul and I hope my kids will too.

They will learn to earn money, but I want them to remember to take time.