Image Source: Unsplash / Simon Rae
It's been eight years since my son was born. Two-and-a-half years later, my husband and I were lucky enough to become parents for the second time to my daughter. And despite the chaos of those early years — diaper blowouts, cluster feedings, and sleepless nights — I've always felt blessed to have two children who are close in age.
But, if I'm being honest, I've also always felt a little sad that my daughter never received the same undivided attention from us that my son did before she was born. As the youngest, she's never known anything different, but there are still times when I feel guilty. I truly cherished the alone time I had with my son, and with the exception of a few hours a day while he was at preschool, she's never experienced that same level of "mommy and me" time.
So, when I attended a press event at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, CA, I jumped at the chance to double it as a girls' getaway. The trip happened to coincide with the opening of their new Kensington Kelly Suite — a glamorous, hot-pink hotel room similar to the Eloise Suite at The Plaza — that I knew my daughter would absolutely adore. My husband and son? Not so much.
I packed my bags, arranged for a babysitter, and surprised my 5-year-old by whisking her away for an impromptu slumber party. I will never forget the look of pure joy on her face when I told her we were going to spend a night alone together, which made me realize this trip was long overdue.
After arriving at the Mission Inn, we headed upstairs to receive a private tour of the Kensington Kelly Suite. My daughter could hardly contain her excitement as she entered the room, where she quickly discovered several hot-pink gumball machines, a hot-pink Chesterfield couch, and a giant sparkly tiara hanging over the bed.
Image Source: The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
Once she finished exploring the suite, we headed downstairs for a lavish afternoon tea party, where my daughter filled her plate with bite-sized desserts, sparkly gold cupcakes, and tiny sandwiches to her heart's content. Afterwards, she twirled happily down the hallway in her fanciest party dress, chattering nonstop about how much fun she was having before planning which relatives she would FaceTime to show them the phone in our hotel bathroom.
After making her calls, she climbed into bed, where we watched cartoons and enjoyed a quick midday nap together before heading downstairs to walk the tea party treats off around the property. As we took selfies, giggled, and strolled past storefronts in downtown Riverside, I knew I had made the right decision by bringing her alone on this trip with me. That night, as we snuggled in bed watching The Princess and the Frog in our pajamas, I rolled over and gave my daughter a big hug, desperately wishing I could stop time and she would stay my little girl forever.
Life may get busy and I may not be able to give her my undivided attention all the time, but I guess that's par for the course when you're a working mom with two small children. Still, as I lay there watching my daughter sleep, I couldn't help but feel grateful for the past 24 hours. I may not be able to freeze time, but there's nothing stopping me from appreciating every second of the alone time we get together.