I am packing my hotel room right now, saying goodbye to the eleventh-story view of the ocean off Paradise Island, as I wrap up three days at the Atlantis resort – just me and Thalia.

Well, me and Thalia and a gaggle of journalists and bloggers and their own children, some PR folks and a lot of people who seem to want to ply my daughter with sugar.

I was there covering the launch of the new Kids Club for Cool Mom Picks, where an actual review will be forthcoming. (Update: Here ’tis)Yes, most expenses were covered by Atlantis, LEGO and my favorite airline, Jet Blue. Yes I feel like the luckiest beyatch on the planet. Yes I hope each one of you gets the same opportunity one day so I can call you a lucky beyatch and you’ll grin and eat up every minute of it.

Of course I did have to get over the guilt of leaving Sage behind, but I am convincing myself that at two-and-a-half, she’d never remember it anyway.

(Right? Right?)

I admit that on family trips, I tend to fall into the role of Mom Who Stays Behind On The Beach, keeping my hair out of the water, and waving to the kids from behind my Vanity Fair. It’s Nate who gets to assume the rule of silly, waterlogged Fun Dad. So it was wholly liberating to be the one who played motorboat in the kiddie pool with Thalia. And let her cover my ankles in sand on the beach. And floated for an hour in a river ride on an inner tube built for two, with her perched on my ankles calling excitedly, Hold on…here comes ANOTHER WAVE!

It was like getting to be the part of me I liked as a kid, and the part of me I like as a parent all at once.

And the whole putting away the computer for six hours straight thing? Should do it more often.

Not that I can, but I should.

I did shirk parenting duties one night with Nicole Feliciano, Anna Fader and Christine Koh, leaving our girls to have a “pajama party” in the room under the watchful eye of Anna’s responsible fifth-grader and that other competent babysitter, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. After all, Nobu’s Alaskan King Crab Leg Tempura appetizer was calling. (And the $35 I won on a slot machine just about paid for it)

I was also able to drop Thalia at the new and gazillion-dollar improved Atlantis Kids Club for a couple of hours one afternoon while Nicole and I conquered a 200-foot water slide ominously called THE ABYSS, shrieking our way down the dark, wet tunnel then climbing up again to reassure the tweens on line that nah, it wasn’t really that scary.

But really, the trip was about me and Thalia.

In fact, for whatever money was spent rebuilding that Kids Club; and as insane as the water park was; and as great as the make-your-own-sundae bars at every dinner; and as hilarious as it was watching our guest “celebrity” Frankie Jonas trying to balance being a paid spokesperson with certain responsibilities, and a regular 8 year-old who just wanted to race the radio controlled monster trucks–those will probably not be the moments that stand out most to me as I reflect back on the trip.

I think what I’ll remember most was absolutely low-tech, and quiet and free:

The evenings in which Thalia and shimmied out of our wet suits, hopped into a warm bath together, and talked about the our day.

I tickled her toes. We splashed water. We smelled all the mini shampoo bottles and tried to guess what scents they were. We soaped each other’s backs. We swirled the washcloths around in the water. Then I would spin around and settle back into the V of her legs, so she could wash my hair, all while making the chhhhhhh sound as she rinsed it out, just like the shampoo girls in the salons.

Afterward, we’d climb out, wrap ourselves in big white towels, pick out our pajamas, and curl up in bed together watching the Ace of Cakes (“I LOVE the Food Network!”) until we fell asleep.

There were no tantrums in those moments. No whining. No nagging and no pleading.

Just a wet, happy mother and a daughter enjoying each other, entirely uninterrupted by life or siblings or emails or telephones or a dog who needed to be walked or a job (or twenty) that needed to be done.

Just Mommy and Thalia.



47 thoughts on “Happy.”

  1. What great memories. A good reminder that we should enjoy the moment instead of always thinking about work or Twitter or the next post. Glad you gals had a good time.

  2. That's one of the reasons I'm letting my daughter stay home today. We haven't been enjoying each other at all lately, and we just need some “girls-only” downtime.

  3. Sounds like such bliss. I'm so happy you got the chance to do that. That's how I felt with Reagan when we did the Hershey thing last April. It was so needed for just the two of us. What great memories for you guys!

  4. We started date nights for this very reason—can't really bury our toes in the sand at TGI Fridays, but I think you get the idea.

    Glad you guys had such a great time. And, don't worry, Sage won't be damaged at all. Unless you consider how much Spongebob she can probably recite now. ; )

  5. I have only one daughter, and I purposely make time for that quiet togetherness. I treasure it and can't imagine my life as a mother without it.

    Thanks for sharing your joy at something so simple.

  6. So lovely. It isn't quite the same with boys (no mutual hair washing), but you've inspired me to get some one-on-one time with my eldest sometime soon. I, too, fall into the mom-on-the-sidelines role altogether too much. Thanks for this post.

  7. so wonderful.

    although i hope someone took scandalous photos of you shrieking down that waterslide. 😉

    I love the Atlantis river ride/ tubing adventures. i would spend hours going round and round.

    so happy to hear you guys had a wonderful time.

  8. So perfect. I so look forward to taking off with one of my kids now and again. My Mom did it with my brother and I and it was always wonderful.

  9. I'm glad you had quality time for your daughter. There's nothing better than being a kid with your child for once. It's a sign that you two could get along well in the future. It is always crucial for a parent to weave those bonds of closeness with their child at any age. Kudos!

  10. that sounds so delightful. one on one time is something so special and rare in families. thalia will remember this forever. and i'm sure sage will have her turn one day.

  11. I bet you'll remember the scents of those shampoos forever, and every time you smell one, these memories will come tumbling back. How lovely. Thanks for sharing with us.

  12. Sometimes we need that, a chance to turn off the computer and just be with our kid. I'm glad that you got it. And, you're right, a 2 1/2 year old never would have remembered it anyway.

  13. ohh, I have been lusting over the Atlantis ads, and am glad to hear it's just as awesome as it sounds. And your post has totally inspired me to plan a “just us two” trip with both of my oldest sons SOON. Too often our travels turn into me standing by holding the youngest while my husband plays with the bigger kids. I think we could all really benefit from taking some trips in twos and enjoying one another's company.

  14. Yes indeed there were bits of magic in this trip. Daughters and moms bonding in the sun. Glad you and T had this chance to connect. You are a good mommy.

  15. Are people who get free (or subsidized) trips to Atlantis happy? Is the Pope Catholic?

    No, I'm NOT jealous, and I'm NOT bitter. I'm jealitter. In a nice, supportive, affectionate community-of-motherhood sort of way.

  16. Liz, that sounds really lovely.

    Last year when I had to bring Jaden to South Africa to have his adnoids out he and I had a whole 6 days together – just the two of us. What a luxury it was to be able to focus on just one child and get to know him so much better. It was really special time. Sounds like you just had the same with Thalia. You are both very lucky.


  17. These are memories to cherish. Not only for her, for whom I am sorry to say they will become blurry (though the love and the feeling will remain, which is SO good), but mostly for you. When she's 14 and doesn't want to hug anymore, or not much, and certainly not in front of her friends, you can bring this memory back and know that deep down, you're always her mama.

    And Sage WON'T remember. Though Nate might be pretty fond of the time they had together while you were gone. I've heard rumors that daddy daughter time is pretty good, too.

  18. What a gift. Sounds magical…

    And, I guess it was a good excuse to not meet me when I was in NYC…

  19. What a sweet time – so glad for you.
    I look forward to the day my 2 1/2 year daughter and I can do something girly together while husband and son are winter camping in DIY igloo or perhaps stalking elk with homemade bows.

  20. Um yeah – you're the luckiest beyotch on the planet! I hope you had fun – it sounds like a blast!!! Are you planning to be in Nashville or Houston soon?…hope so!

  21. It's been so long since I've been on a trip that didn't involve a family visit staying in someone's house because it's just easier with kid wrangling – and in just in 10 minutes you brought me back to August 2007 when Jack was just a year old and we visited family but decided (wisely!) to stay in a hotel and broke all the rules of normal routines in life and slept together in our big comfy Hampton Inn bed, ate waffles when we woke up and snuggled until we had to check out. I've been so wrapped up in 2 & 3 year old raising, potty training, discipline teaching, daycare taking, routine following, work life I have completely forgotten what these years are supposed to be about. I think I need to plan a Jack and Mommy trip for 2010, and a Duke and Mommy trip for 2011, even if it's just one night and no where special! No excuses!

  22. That sounds like so much fun! I would love to have even just a day to spend alone with my 4 yo daughter. She is such a joy (most of the time)on a day to day basis that I would love to give her my undivided attention for one day. You are so lucky to have been able to do this.

  23. oh my gosh. i am on best rest with a severely crappy pregnancy right now and just last night my almost 4-year-old daughter and i laid in bed together and talked about how all we wanted in the world is for mom to not be sick and to be in the Bahamas together. we talked about sand castles and swimming. you just described our day dreams. i am gonna do it someday. – i guess when i am done nursing the little toad who's making me sick right now. 🙂

  24. We LOVE Atlantis! Been there 7 times, all the way from California. The flight's a pain in the bum, but once there it is paradise.
    Must have been hard not to have all the kids since this is truly a family destination.
    The slot machines have been kind to me too. Before the Royal Towers were built, the little casino gave me $500. Husband made get up immediately and buy a piece of jewelry:)

  25. That was a lovely story and one which has made me think. I always tell myself that I can't do stuff like that as I have four kids aged 5-15 but if I am honest with myself it wouldn't be impossible, and if its not impossible then may be I should be doing it.

  26. HEAVEN is….getting “unplugged” long enough to tune in, then only having one child who needs, wants requires your UNDIVIDED ATTENTION, dammit!! This from the mother of four daughters. Then, the heaven is completed with big girl time, lobster and winning at the slots. Of course we're all jealous, but glad for the reminder that one-on-one time with the children is invaluable. Now where the hell do I find one-on-one time with myself??

  27. I'm trying to figure out why you didn't ask me to review that for CMP. Very puzzling.

    I'm hoping to take my daughter to San Francisco this spring. It just sounds so nice to think of spending time like that together.

  28. Wow! That was a GREAT perk of being a blogger. I've been to Atlantis, not sure I'd choose it as a destination as I'm not that fond of crowds, but for people who are, it's a great place.

  29. I got tears in my eyes just reading about your amazing trip. I have a weekend alone with my big one coming up and I think I'll steal that sharing a bath idea. sounds heavenly.

  30. Thanks for the reminder that not everything in a kid/family focused business always has to be for work. This Friday night while I am out with on a “date” with my 11 year old son, which he has chosen over his school dance, I will remember not to tweet about how great the restaurant is, rather just enjoy my time with him.

  31. There is something so special about one-on-one time. And it is miraculous how the tantrums just disappear. Glad you enjoyed.

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