Major adventure number two of the summer was a girls only mini-vacation to Cape Cod. One of my girlfriends from work has a house in Dennisport, so Amy, Ella, and I headed up there last week to enjoy a few days of girls only fun. I, of course, was petrified to be on vacation with my little two going on sixteen ball of toddlerness, but I went anyway. I decided today actually that the theme for this summer is "Embrace the Disaster." There was really no chance that Cape Cod was going to go perfectly. I was with a two-year-old, without my husband, and in an unfamiliar place. Because Ella was such a difficult baby and we were forced to put her on a really strict routine about where and when she slept, she has become accustomed to that routine and doesn't do well with change. She likes her crib, her bath tub, her stuff, and her space, so there were bound to be some tantrums and tears.
There were definitely some difficulties along the way. She cried pretty hard the first night when I put her down to sleep, but it only lasted about fifteen minutes. She wouldn't nap in the pack n' play, but she did sleep for a good two hours in the car. There were some bratty moments here and there, but there was also this glorious thing called "the beach." Everyone knows that I am not a beach person (reference any picture available of my translucent skin). I have always found it to be pretty hot and sandy and boring, and I wasn't really looking forward to spending three days lounging on the shore. Of course, once you have a child, there's never really any lounging anyway, which turned out to be a good thing for us. I realized that while I don't really like being a grown-up on the beach, I do still like being a kid on one. It turns out that building sand castles, giving Ella mermaid legs, collecting shells, and running from "sharks" (a.k.a Amy) in the water is just as much fun now as it was when I was a kid, maybe even more so because now I get to see the glint of fun and excitement in her eyes as well.
One moment in particular that I will remember was when we swam out "really deep" as Ella would say and turned to look back at the shore. She held out her arm in a very grown-up sweeping motion and said, "The whole wide world." I don't know where she got that phrase, or what she meant by it, but it felt like an important moment to me. It felt like she was telling me, "Pay attention, Mom. This is a good moment. Be here with me right now and breathe it in." And I did. I let everything else go, and I relished the sun on my face, the water all around, and the little girl with her arms around my neck, and I was so glad to be seeing the "whole wide world" with her.
A special thanks also to Amy and Ali for making that trip happen, and for being so patient with my little one. She can't wait for her next "bacation."