Thursday, April 24, 2008

Flashback Friday - Vacation!

Last June, the girls and I took a road trip to San Francisco and Santa Cruz. (Okay, so I'm not flashing back too far here, but I'm looking forward to our Disneyland trip this June.)

The car ride went astonishingly well. Thank goodness they're old enough to have some bladder control, and being L.A. girls...they're kind of used to spending quality time with our car! Braced with car ride activity books (and about 40 CDs), we were off.

I booked the trip through AAA (which I highly recommend), and we went to pick up our City Passes, which gained us access to many of San Francisco's attractions. We managed to visit two aquariums, take a tour of a sourdough bakery, frequented the Farmer's Market, Ghirardelli Square (of course), and took the San Francisco Bay cruise.

We also happened to be there the same weekend as the Gay Pride Parade. Yes, it is family-friendly. There was face-painting, crafts, and a playground so the girls had fun, too. But my most favorite hours of the San Francisco trip were probably those we spent just watching the sea lions. Our last night there, we had dinner at a restaurant that overlooked their home on Pier 39.

We then spent a day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which was the highlight of the trip. I had so much fun introducing the girls to what had been my "Disneyland" as a child.

And what was really fun was how many compliments I received at pretty much every restaurant we frequented about how well-behaved my girls were. They did me proud. They always do.

One funny moment (not ha ha, more of the hmm kind). One day, we had breakfast at the counter at IHOP - which, btw, is really dreadful; was it always this dreadful? - and we were seated next to a man with his son. Well, at the end of the meal, I wasn't getting a check. I noticed the waitress had given the man his check, and was sort of annoyed that I wasn't handed mine at the same time. And then I looked at his face. I asked him about it, and my suspicions were confirmed. The waitress had assumed that we were all together, and had charged him for the 3 of us as well. She was embarrassed by the mistake, and corrected it, of course. In some ways, I can see how she made that assumption, but also...the man and I had never talked to each other while we were there! The girls and I spoke, and he of course talked to his son. Did she really think a married couple wouldn't talk to each other at all?!?

The other funny thing was when we were at the Farmer's Market, we were meeting their uncle, who lives in SF (and was a very gracious tour guide to us). The girls ran up to hug him when he arrived and a passerby said to her companion, "oh, look; they're with their daddy!" Again, a rather easy assumption to make, and it made me think of how many times I've probably been guilty of the same thing.

It probably sticks in my mind more than it should because of the fact that it sort of takes away from what I was - no am - doing all by myself. I don't want them to miss out on these sort of childhood memories because they're growing up without a father. They deserve family vacations. They deserve the smiles in these pictures. I stretch my credit cards way too thin to give it to them, but hey - who doesn't, really?

I acknowledge that the point is fairly insignificant, but at the same time, I do want to break the stereotypes of what being a single parent looks like, and I don't want the fact of me being a single parent to stop them from anything.

Okay, I better stop this post before I start crying again. (I've decided to live in denial about the whole condo thing for the rest of the month to give myself an emotional break.) And I'm straying from my original intent anyway. Which is to say, I love vacationing with my girls!


Anonymous said...

#1) Your girls are gorgeous!

#2) I Love Pride week! Some of the best street performances I have ever seen were at Pride parades in Toronto. Now that's a party!

#3) I don't think you're girls are missing out on anything. They have an incredible mother who tries to move the world for them.And as you've said in the past, they don't seem to notice when their father doesn't call, I'm thinking they're perfectly happy with just the three of you. Don't second guess yourself.

#4) Congrats on having such well behaved kids. You're obviously doing something right. It's always nice to be made to feel proud of your children. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything cablegirl had to say!

Pride Parades are SO MUCH FUN!! My boys love spending time with my brother and his boyfriend ~ Because, quite frankly, they are boys and uncles are more fun than aunts! (Trucks, dirts, bugs, sharks, etc etc)

And April, I continue to be totally wowed by you as a mother and as a person. I hope I am as cool and fun and balanced with my boys as they get older as you are with your girls. I am excited for them to be older so we can take family vacations (3 and 2 seems a little too young).

I love our family of three -- And love hearing about yours!!!

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

I love San Fran and Santa Cruz. Such good memories.

We are planning a trip to Disneyland for sometime in the fall and even though I know I should save the money, I also know that my little deserves it.

You are a great mom, your love for your daughter's shines through in every entry.

Anonymous said...

You know, we all make assumptions. We can't help it...we forget that other people have different lives than we have...we want to conform them a bit to what we know. Don't let it get you down. Your girls will remember these vacations forever, and they'll know how hard you worked to make their lives full.

KG said...

I also find myself annoyed when people make those assumptions that I'm "with" whatever nearby dude is there. I'm not sure why . . . I guess I just have pride that I'm doing it solo. Either that or I think the guy is ugly and am insulted that they think I shacked up with him.

Tara R. said...

You are going to have so much fun! If you ever get to Disney World (truly the Happiest Place in the World) give me a hollar!

Anonymous said...

As much as I love, adore, cherish, think the world of, and am committed to my husband, I still do about 85% of all "kid duties" by myself. People always ask me if it's difficult when my husband travels and, honestly, it's not. I miss talking to him at night when the kids are asleep, but our days when he is away go on as usual. So to reiterate, your girls have absolutely everything they need in you.

MarĂ­a said...

Gosh they're gorgeous!
I may be visiting San Fran soon, you gonna meet me?

Kori said...

hey there, loved your post! They are all in watching TV and you know how I am about that-so I just can't stay away from the computer! having a great time, wish you were here, all that stuff...and there is much to say that really can't wait until Tuesday, but I can't email you from here becasue my address book doesn't import to this I don't remember your email. email me at the regular address and then I can get on and reply tomorrow! :)

LunaNik said...

San Francisco is on my list of cities that I must see before I die.

And, once again I marvel at your mothering skills. I have to say, when I complain about my hubs being lazy and always doing everything myself, I think of you and it gives me strength. If you can raise such incredible children all by yourself, then I think I can to. You're an inspiration.


Single Working Mommy said...

You know, I got, and still get, a lot of the husband stuff--even though we were never married. It's like people *want* to have the whole "happy family" thing--even if it's not a reality in their own lives.

Whenever people would refer to SD as my husband, I was always making a joke about it. Saying things like, "Naw, he's just my baby's daddy." And then sometimes I didn't correct them because it was just too much of a hassle. Othertimes people will talk say things about other people and their kids, calling them illegitimate, bastards, etc. And I'm all "Hey? Technically..."

I hope I can give Son some of the great memories you are giving your girls. Your family is completely gorgeous. Keep on keepin' on April, you are doing great.

Me. Here. Right now. said...

They'll be fine - you're a good mom. You have men in their life who can role model. Stability is far more important than an unstable father who is merely propped up to be there.

Sounds like a great vacation. Next time you visit you should hit Ano Nuevo State Park where the Sea Lions molt - it's amazing.

Karen MEG said...

San Fran is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been to. What a lovely memory for you ... your girls are beautiful and they sound like such sweethearts.

You do not know how much I admire you, and other single moms. I don't know how you do're strong, so capable, and look at the great job you're doing with your children. You all deserve your Disney trip so much ... I'm so glad you're doing that for yourselves.