This week we took a trip to Santa Cruz. Ruby has travelled a lot in a mere 3 years. She even has a passport with a stamp and mugshot of her at something like 5 months to prove it. But this is the only real vacation that we’ve been on as a family, and I’m glad we fit it in before the baby is born. There were a number of nice little moments that snuck up on me, and I found myself thinking deep thoughts about the passing of time.
At the end of our last day there we spent some time on the beach. I was cold and tired from carrying around my belly all day. So I took to dry land while Jason played with Ruby at the water’s edge. She frolicked (If ever there was a place to use the word “frolic” this was it.) and giggled and squealed and ran away from the waves rolling into shore. Occasionally she ran all the way back to me so she could remind me to, “Watch me! Mommy! Watch me! Watch me!”
“These are the moments,” I thought. The ones I will look back on when she is a teenager and graduating college and getting married. The ones that will make me say, “I miss those days when she was so little and sweet and life was so simple.” Of course life is not simple. But it is in those moments of joy. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and love for my beautiful girl, and also a little bit sad because it felt like I was already watching a memory. A moment I couldn’t hold onto because time keeps moving.
We spent some quality time at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as well. There were quite a few rides that Ruby could ride and a surprising number she could ride by herself. (How is this possible?? Talk about time moving!) My typically cautious and, at times, clingy girl embraced her newfound freedom like a champ, fearlessly taking the wheel of fire trucks, helicopters and killer whales.
After every ride the first thing she would ask was, “Now what ride can I go on now?” So I’m fairly certain she was having an awesome time. This culminated in her bravely insisting that she wanted to ride the sea serpent roller coaster. As it turns out she had reached her limit, and she traded in her awesome time for this awesome picture.
We did a few other things that were less noteworthy. The steam train in Felton was a nice idea but a bit pricey and too long for a 3 year old. Fortunately, the grounds were built up well and Ruby had fun playing around before the trip.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium was also expensive and way too crowded. Although Monterey itself made for a worthwhile day trip. We stumbled on what might just be the coolest park ever, the Dennis the Menace Park, which was very reasonably priced at free. And we all had a good time picking out salt water taffy and jelly beans in a little shop, appropriately named CandyLand.
The rest of our days were filled with pleasantries like ice cream, book stores, extra sleep and showers. I can’t believe I almost forgot. Ruby absolutely loved the hotel shower. Ah, the simple life. That isn’t really simple but sometimes is.