My daughter and I spent the week away at a spa resort with three pools, including a lazy river and a quiet pool, where we lounged and swam and did laps and read and people watched and talked about everything under the sun. And just exhaled. My youngest is so cheerful and easy, her laugh quick and ringing. The whole trip, people went out of their way to be nice to us, from the redcap at the airport sending us right through the pre-check line and upgrading our seats gratis without being asked. He'd noticed from my girl's ID that her birthday had been the day before and then he noticed from my ID that he and I share the same birthdate, and he just went ahead and gifted us. I don't think my girl's dancing smile hurt one bit. We sailed through the security line looking back at what was a gnarly crowd undoing belts and taking off shoes and jackets and depositing laptops in bins. "This must be what it feels like to be rich," my daughter said. "We are rich," I told her. "I know, I know," she said, laughing and rolling her eyes. "We're rich in love."
Then at the hotel, I asked the check in person to please not give us a room overlooking the truck lot at the back of the property that I'd seen on our way in. I told her we were celebrating my daughter's birthday and upcoming graduation and this trip was her gift. The woman lit up and told my girl congrats and then said, "I'm giving you a room overlooking the main pool. I think you'll like it." And we did. The view was spectacular, very theme park like—we were in Orlando after all—yet approachable and lively, with families having what looked to be a fabulous time. All we had to do on waking each morning was look out our window to feel immediately connected to the fun.
The first night we walked around getting the lay of the land and decided we liked the quiet pool best, with it's surrounding cabanas and sedate crowd of honeymooners and retirees sunning themselves peacefully. All week we alternated between there and the lazy river, all 892 feet of it, with waterfalls and water cannons and rapids, where children were pretty much losing their natural minds with happiness as they frolicked with others their own age under parents' indulgent gaze. The two scenes were a nice counterpoint of energies.
The last night there was a knock on the door, and a woman stood there with a beautiful cake on a tray. "I have a delivery," she said. "We understand someone has a birthday and is graduating?" The card was from the woman at the front desk who'd checked us in! We couldn't believe her thoughtfulness! We cut a quarter of the cake and took it downstairs to thank her; my daughter told her she made our stay. The whole week was like that, people just being their loveliest selves with us, and my girl and me being out loveliest selves with each other. And while food seemed expensive in the moment, it was delicious, and I just decided whatever,
because if you're going to have an experience, have the whole experience. In the end, the tally came to a lot less than I expected, which just added to the whole week being pretty close to perfect.
We got back to the city yesterday, and my son decided we should all go out for a Hibachi dinner. His girlfriend was here, and my daughter's boyfriend was here too, so it was my husband and me and the four of them strolling along at twilight to the Japanese place in the neighborhood. The man and I held hands and walked along behind our children, smiling at each other and deeply contented that at this moment in time, each and every one of us was a happy camper. I wish I'd taken a photo of the six of us, but it was one of those times when it was better just to be in the flow of the experience rather than to step outside of it to create a record. These words will be my record.