I've been promising Darya a "girls trip" ever since Everest and I checked out San Juan Puerto Rico for kids last summer. And while I recognize that not getting to come along on a solo getaway with mom is hardly a sign of deprivation, I've felt guilty that it took so long to pull something together. As the middle child, Darya is the glue that holds the kids-section of our family together, but she's also the child who sometimes doesn't get as much attention as she deserves. It's the classic setup - she's too capable to need help dressing in the morning, and young enough that we don't celebrate every milestone the way we do for our firstborn.
More than my other kids, Darya loves the outdoors, and she loves to move her body (Everest is happy to curl up with a notebook or a game). She's been itching for warm weather so that she can replace her cumbersome long pants and long sleeve shirts with shorts and a bathing suit. And this summer has been a dissapointment for her - while the rest of the country suffers from a heatwave, Seattle has been unseasonably cold. In fact, we've had just two days in the past month where the temperature went over 80 degrees, and no days where the temperature was over 85. If you live in Texas, that probably sounds like Nirvana, but on the heels of the longest, coldest winter in recent memory it was a little tough to take.
Just as summer was beginning to seem doomed to failure, I was invited to check out the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The prospect of being warm for three days in a row made me almost giddy. I'll write a full review of the resort in another post, but first I wanted to post a few pics of the most memorable moments from our trip to Clearwater Beach.
When I travel with the kids, things rarely go as I expect, and sometimes I even learn a bit more about who my kids are. I thought the Jolly Trolly, an inexpensive trolly system that makes it easy to get around Clearwater beach without a car, would be a slam dunk attraction. Usually when I'm with all three kids, I only notice how much chaos there is. What I hadn't noticed is that Everest's enthusiasm for any type of transportation usually carries us through this sort of outing.
Perhaps Darya was missing her brother, or perhaps it's the combination of the early hour and the time change, but poor Darya was positively grumpy on the trolly ride. Even an early-morning cliff bar didn't cheer her up. Note to mom: Darya does not actually care about public transportation - that's her brother.
I had tons of plans for all the things Darya and I were going to do together on this trip. Perhaps she's be reading by the time we returned home? Or maybe she'd be a master chess player? With my complete attention, there were no bounds to what she might learn. With a little focused attention, my mommy guilt might take a holiday of it's own. Darya had her own ideas. With no baby weighing us down, we spent hours and hours in the Sandpearl Hotel Pool.
And and lounging in the sun
Darya loved that pool so much that it was the first thing she wanted to look at in the morning.
And my mommy guilt? It's assuaged a little bit by the fact that after this trip, Darya felt comfortable enough putting her head under water that she was able to come home and learn how to swim for real!
And perhaps we did squeeze in a little chess... but it was according to Darya's crazy mixed up rules. In this game, everyone wants to be on Darya's team since mom is not allowed to win.
But what really made this trip great was the chance to hang out with other girls her age. Afterall, a mom can never be as playful as another kid.
On this trip, for me, Darya came into focus just a little more clearly. It was super wonderful to have the time and mental energy to get a read on who she really is and what she enjoys separate from her brothers. And Darya? It's hard to get much insight on her perspective... she loved the snuggling, and she loved the time with me in the pool, but when we got home she ran into her brothers' arms.
We were invited guests of the Sandpearl Resort at Clearwater Beach on this trip. The resort paid for our airfare, hotel stay, activities and many of our meals. The hotel did not require that I express a particular point of view, and I always strive to present a fair and balanced review regardless of who is paying the bill.Related Links
Clearwater Beach with Kids