A few weeks ago Jason and I spent our first night away from our baby girl. My parents live just about 30 minutes from Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort (just a few minutes East of Destin), so Jason and I dropped off B with her Honey and Poppy and drove into a little slice of paradise.
When I was in college, I worked as a concierge at the Hilton Sandestin when I was home for a summer. Ever since then, I've been itching to get back there, but as a guest rather than an employee. Seven years later, I pulled up to the front door to check in, husband in tow (Jason and I had just met when I worked there and started dating a few months later).
When we arrived at about 11:30 a.m., which was several hours before check-in time. We knew our room probably wouldn't be ready, but we'd called ahead and found out that we'd get complimentary valet parking while we waited, and they'd go ahead and give us our armbands that gave us access to use to pools, beach, and spa, as long as we came after 11:00 a.m.
After we got our armbands, we got changed into our swim clothes and headed out to the pool deck to eat lunch at Barefoots Beachside Bar & Grill. We could literally feel our blood pressure dropping as we sat back and ordered our lunch.
After lunch, we went to find a few chairs to claim for the remainder of the afternoon. We thought we'd like getting the beach service chairs down by the water, but we knew that we'd have to go check in a few hours later and get ready for our dinner reservations. Instead we found a few chairs under an umbrella that faced the beach, but were located off of the pool deck (aka, free). For reference, though, beach service chairs are $40 for two chairs and an umbrella for a full day and $25 for a half day.
We both read for a little while, then it got really hot (hello, Florida in the middle of the summer) so we jumped in the pool. This hotel has two really nice outdoor pools and one indoor pool. For some reason, one pool was much less crowded than another, so we obviously opted for the less-crowded pool. After swimming for a little while, we went back to our chairs and both took a nap with the waves crashing in front of us.
Jason LOVES a good steakhouse, so I knew we only had one option for dinner: Seagar's. Seagar's is a little pricy, but this was our first trip without Brighten, so we decided to splurge and live it up while we had my parents babysitting. Dinner did not disappoint! Jason got his beloved steak and lobster. I also got a steak, but the highlight for me was the warm spinach salad. I was skeptical about if I'd like a "warm" salad or not, but I could have eaten like three of them!
We really took our time and ended up having a two hour dinner! This was such a treat for me because with a little one who is starting to eat solid foods, I am typically having to scarf down my food so that I can attend to her. Taking my time at a nice meal was really a gift, and it didn't hurt that the food was unbelievably good. They also had live music that night, which made the whole experience seem so fancy and special, again, a great departure from our usual fast, casual meal with a baby.
Once we finished dinner and our food settled, we decided to go night swimming! When my family and I would travel with my dad when we were growing up, some of my favorite memories are of all of us going night swimming. When Jason and I got back down to the pool, there were families doing the same thing, and we dreamed of doing that with Brighten someday.
The next day we slept in (all the praise hands), went to a lovely breakfast at Sandcastles while it stormed outside, and sat out by the beach for a little bit (once it stopped storming). Since it was pretty overcast, we decided to check on the movie times at Grand Boulevard's movie theatre, which is totally a Jason and Jessica thing to do! We ended up seeing a matinee of the new Spiderman movie, which was super cute and funny. It was the perfect end to our little getaway, because after the movie I was anxious to get my hands on my little Brighten. She had the biggest smile on her face when we walked through the door to my parent's house, but they said that she did great the whole time! I'm so glad that we chose to do this just for one night, only 30 minutes away from her. It's given me the confidence to go away to a further location for a longer amount of time next time!
One of my favorite things about this little getaway was the chance to really dream together, uninterrupted. We dreamed of our family a certain way for so long, and now that much of that is different, we needed that time to really begin to create new dreams for our family. We love Brighten so much, but anyone who has been around a baby for any length of time knows that it can be difficult to have meaningful conversations when you're chasing after them.
Several friends told me that going away for even just one night would be good for our marriage. At the time, I agreed, mainly because I was excited to hang out with Jason for 24 hours without any responsibilities. But now, I truly know how right my friends were. For anyone who has not gone on a little getaway without kids, even just for a night, I HIGHLY recommend it. There's something special about regrouping, and not just after kids go to sleep or for a few hours with a babysitter. Something about an extended amount of time just the two of us echoed the past and how things were before we began building our family, but it also included the wisdom and hopes and dreams that we have for our family in the present and future.