Saturday, November 14, 2009

San Francisco=Success

We've returned from our first family vacation (I use the term "vacation" very loosely), and I'm pleased to report that it went swimmingly. Hadley is an exceptional little traveler; she loved the airport, she loved the city, she even loved a protest we passed during an early morning walk in the Financial District. She was enthralled by it all.

"Vacation" is, I admit, a bit of a misnomer. Jason worked every day we were there--Hadley and I just tagged along on a business trip he had had planned for a while--but we did get to spend some time together (more than we would have if Hadley and I had stayed home). I was nervous before we left: What would I do with a six-month-old in a hotel room without most of Hadley's toys? How would she be on the airplane? What if we all got swine flu?

But Hadley was great on the airplane--even sleeping for about 45 minutes until the 18-month-old behind us began his oh-so-charming "mama" chant and woke her up. She worked the crowd, smiling and cooing and giggling as people paraded off the airplane past us. She was fascinated by the airport, and by the time we got the rental car, I fed her and she zonked out in her car seat for most of the ride down to Half Moon Bay.

Oh, Half Moon Bay, how I love thee. We stayed at the Ritz on the water--really, it's a rough life--and it was beautiful. Sometimes I forget how much I love the sound of the waves on the shore, or the smell of salt in the air, but this trip reminded me of these good, simple pleasures. After an afternoon nap (for Hadley and me), we walked out behind the hotel to watch the sun sink into the ocean, while a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace" on a hill overlooking the 18th hole. Seriously. I'm not making that up.

Hadley sat in a high chair like the little lady she is while Jason and I ate dinner that night, and she slept very well in the Ritz-provided crib (which, frankly, was a crappy little thing that I'd expect from the LaQuinta, not the Ritz).

The next day our friends Becky and Kent drove down from San Francisco to spend the afternoon with us. They were so sweet with Hadley, and I could tell that she adored them right away. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: I'm still surprised by the well of gratitude I feel for people in our lives who love on Hadley. It's such a unique joy to see our beloved friends love our daughter.

We walked down on the beach, where Kent and Becky took turns holding Hadley. She loved it and rewarded us all with big smiles.

Jason had meetings, so the rest of us trekked into the little town of Half Moon Bay for lunch and then to a surf beach not far away, where we watched surfers play in the water. Hadley practically said, "Hang ten, dude." Practically.

We headed back to the hotel, where we met up with Jason and lounged on the oversized Adirondack chairs overlooking the water. Again, rough life. Poor us.

That night, Jason had a Big Important Dinner, so Hadley and I were on our own. We opened one of the windows in the hotel room so we could hear the sounds of the ocean, and Hadley fell asleep nursing. I laid beside her in our bed and listened to her breathe and to the waves pawing at the beach, and felt total peace. Such goodness, I kept thinking. Such goodness.

Jason had a day full of meetings on Monday, so the Hadster and I played together all day. We walked along the coastal trail, which I loved and Hadley tolerated. I think the wind was bothering her a bit, though I tried to keep the stroller "awning" (what's that thing called?) pulled down in front of her. Of course, then it blocked her view and she fussed at it. Lose, lose.

After lunch, we headed down to the swimming pool for Hadley's inaugural swim. I changed her into her bathing suit (pink gingham with ruffles and cherries embroidered at the top), and she looked so precious, I just wanted to squeeze her. So I did. Then we got into the pool and Hadley pulled her legs under her and crossed them at the shins, like a tiny Buddha baby. She just let me hold her in the water, where she bobbed in this funny position for a minute or two. I laughed, so she grinned. Then I pulled her through the water, and she stuck her legs out behind her and kicked. She splashed and looked at me like, "Mom, why are you making such a mess?"

I had forgotten how buoyant the water makes a person, and it sure felt good on my tired arms to have a little support for Hadley's weight.

After about 30 minutes, the big kids' splashing got to be too much, and Hadley made it clear she was ready to go. But I'd say our first swim was a big hit!

I'm off to bed, but tomorrow, I'll give you the second half of our adventure, which includes flirting with bellhops, wearing berets and cruising through San Francisco like the hip chics we are. G'night.



  2. Hilary, this post is awesome. Your descriptions of Hadley and you swimming were so great, and all of it made me feel as though I was there. I miss you three tremendously, but am so thankful for this little blog to hear all about the wonderful things you are doing! So glad you got to see Becky too! Can't wait for part 2!!! :)