When Ethan turned 10 (almost 1 year ago!) I decided that we would plan a special weekend together, just the two of us. Rob & Ethan did “The Big Weekend” in July last year, where Ethan learned a lot more about the birds and the bees. Ten is a milestone age in our family, and going away separately with each parent for a special weekend at this age is something we decided was really important. Tyler is already looking forward to his turn!
Ethan & I have had a long time to plan this trip. We never intended for it to take place just a week out from his 11th birthday, but that’s just the way it happened. I asked him what he wanted to do, and after a lot of thought and a lot of discussion, he decided that he wanted to stay at a hotel in town. He also wanted to swim (in a waterhole, but I decided a heated pool was better considering the time of year) and look at shops. So easy to please!
We had a truly wonderful weekend together. I will treasure the memories forever, and I hope Ethan will too. He thanked me so many times over the weekend and I know he enjoyed everything we did. It was lots of fun, but the best part about it was spending so much quality time together, doing things HE wanted to do.
The weekend started with his soccer game on Saturday morning, which was at Huapai (about 45 minutes drive from our place). When the game kicked off, his team only had 6 (of 9) players, so we were bracing ourselves for a right thrashing. However, Ethan scored a goal within the first minute! Another 3 players eventually arrived, and they played a really good game. Ethan scored another goal and came away with Player of the Day. They didn’t win, but it was a close one (3-2).
After the game, we had lunch and headed straight into the city. We stayed at the Stamford Plaza, right in the heart of the CBD. Rob & I have stayed there before and I knew Ethan would LOVE it. He’s never stayed anywhere that nice, so everything was fascinating and awesome in his eyes. From the hotel-valet-in-tails-and-a-top-hat and fancy swipe card to the minibar and the fluffy white robe and slippers in our room, he was enchanted.
The first thing he wanted to do was check out the pool, spa and sauna. He had never been in a sauna before, so that was an experience! The pool was a bit cold for me, but the spa was lovely. After our swim, we headed out for some serious window shopping. We spent ages looking around the Billabong, Rip Curl and Quicksilver shops on Queen Street, and then we checked out Loaded on Vulcan Lane. Back to the hotel for a bit of a rest, and then it was time for dinner. I let him choose what we ate. He chose Mexican, so we headed up the road to Mexican Cafe. He ordered an adult-sized burrito with jalopenos, and almost finished the whole thing. We had hot chocolates at Gloria Jeans, and then headed back to our hotel room to watch the Blues vs Crusaders rugby game on SKY. A novelty for both of us, as we don’t have SKY and we don’t have TVs in our bedrooms!
I didn’t sleep very well because of the outside street noise (cars/buses, loud music, people laughing and yelling) and because I had the rather large feet of an almost-11-year-old shoved into my face several times. I have no idea HOW he managed that, as it was a King-sized bed and I really did keep to my half!!
We enquired about the price of breakfast at the hotel restaurant, and it was actually Ethan who said “NO WAY” when he heard how much it was going to cost! So we wandered down the road to a cute little diner-esque cafe called Ronnie’s. We sat in retro vinyl booths and ate eggs, bacon, sausage and toast with butter. It was cheap, and it was GOOD. After breakfast, we walked down to the waterfront and watched the boats for awhile, before heading back to the hotel for one final swim/spa.
After checking out (and receiving a free chocolate bar for filling out the in-room survey card – it pays to read those things carefully, people!) we decided to grab some lunch and do a spot of shopping. We bought birthday presents for my sister, niece and nephew, whose birthdays are on the 26th, 28th and 30th of this month, respectively. Ethan’s is on the 27th. Yeah. May is BUSY.
By the time we got home, I felt like all I had done was eat for 2 days. But we did manage to get a bit of exercise in. Walking, and swimming. Well, I didn’t really swim, I just sat in hot water! And Ethan also played an hour of soccer. Hmm, what’s the bet he burns off all the food a LOT quicker than me?
We shared some really neat moments together and had some awesome conversations, but mostly we just enjoyed each other’s company. It was so nice to spend that much time with him, just the two of us. Sure, this particular weekend was an expensive one, but I think it was worth every cent. As my lovely husband put it, it was a “good investment”. His weekend away with Ethan last year was decidedly LESS costly – especially since they slept in the back of the wagon! – but I know without a doubt that it was just as special and memorable.
My relationships with my boys are so important to me, and nurturing them is vital. It is my hope that we will be able to get through anything life throws at us, as long as we have the right ‘heart relationship’. I know I don’t have to take them away for a weekend in order to keep that going, but it is nice to do something different. Something that will be remembered for years to come. Spending quality time together, giving them my undivided attention, taking the time to listen to them, doing the things that they enjoy doing. I feel so very blessed to have such special relationships with each of my boys, and I’ll do whatever it takes to keep them strong.
Here are a few photos that Ethan & I took over the weekend. A great memento of our special ‘adventure’.