On the Boardwalk

As the sun sets on the kids’ summer vacation, it seems fitting to go out in style. Santa Cruz Boardwalk style.

Welcome to the Boardwalk

The day couldn’t have been more perfect, well except for one thing. I bravely took all three girls to the Boardwalk on my own, plus Olivia brought one of her friends. Do the math. Four kids. One adult. I did question my sanity as I herded the kids in the car for hour-long drive. While I would have loved to have had adult company, the outing went way above my expectations. First, we didn’t hit any traffic. None. Second, I totally scored rock star street parking right across from the entrance. Third, no meltdowns, by me or the kids. That’s what I call a terrific trifecta.

Allowing Olivia to invite a buddy meant no whining about forced boredom due to riding kiddie rides she outgrew years ago.

Instead, she and her friend giddily went on rides likes this one:

Double Shot!

The Double Shot catapults people 125 feet in the air and drops them back down again…. and again. They hated this ride, so much that they went on this four times. I have to admit, I would have liked to have tried this ride one time. Not four, but one would have been nice. Shockingly, the friend didn’t get sick from this, but did get carsick on the way home.

The other two girls also took to the air, albeit not much that air.

Up and Away!

You can’t see it from this photo, but Erin piloted this puppy.

Next came lunch. I’ve done this trip before, so I’ve learned to pack lunches and eat on the beach. Of course the kids would rather eat corn dogs and other fried delicacies, but to their credit they ate without any complaints. Plus, they got entertainment.

Emperor’s Imperial Circus

Sure, the dragons were kind of cool, but the chick who did acrobatics on about six stacked chairs drew the biggest ooh’s and ahh’s. Best of all, it was free entertainment, which was quite welcome after shelling out big bucks for the rides.

After lunch, I let the older girls loose to return to the rides, and the younger two hit the waves.

BFF’s…. at least for today

It was beyond heartening to see these two get along so well today. It doesn’t happen all that often, but with Olivia off with her friend, Erin stepped into her big sister’s shoes without a second thought. She calmly took her sister’s hand as they played wave runner, and deftly pulled Carrie out of the way when the big waves threatened to drench her.

Watching all the girls today gave me a chance to truly see how much they’ve all grown, literally and figuratively.

Olivia towered over the height requirement charts on all the rides. But it’s not just her size that shows she’s growing up. Although I let her and her friend run off on their own for an hour with strict instructions on where and when to return, I see she’s ready for more independence and freedom. She may be ready, but I’m sure not.

Erin is on the verge of exploring new frontiers. She’s maybe an inch away from riding the big kid rides. Today Sea Serpent. Tomorrow the Giant Dipper.

And Carrie, well what can I say, she’s my baby. She’s raring to go and ready to keep up with her big sisters. I know it won’t be long before she is more than holding her own with them.

It’s days like these when I’m truly grateful for the wonderful life I have. Thanks Santa Cruz Boardwalk for helping me experience one of the true joys of parenthood. Watching your kids just be kids, and loving every minute of it.

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