The next day, her actual 13th birthday, we ordered breakfast in the room, my favorite indulgence if I am on a special trip. Then we went in search of shopping and a nail salon. We found both successfully. She picked out some cute spring clothes and I found a few things too. Getting our nails done proved quite fun; we had pedicures and manicures, Caroline's first! She gleamed with happiness over her pretty hands and feet. She doesn't really pay attention to her nails or feet at all, and it was showing. Then lunch, a nap, and off to the beach. The water was too cold to go into of course and the wind made the air chillier than the 70 degree weather. We walked the boardwalk, taking in the beauty of the wide beach and the sunshine. Spring at last! However, we ran late for our special dinner because we didn't realize how far we had walked. Unbeknownst to Caroline, my husband was to meet us at a very nice restaurant at the north end of the beach. As we were driving back to the hotel, I realized we didn't have time to go there and change and come back to the oceanfront, so I spontaneously changed the plan, got off the highway, and found a dress shop.
She needed a dress and shoes, so we ran into a store, quickly had her try some things on, grabbed some shoes, and she wore everything out of the store. Once in the car I handed her some lip gloss. She was so cute saying she had never really felt pretty before, and she liked her twirly dress. Black and white polka dots. Very becoming. We drove to the restaurant, and when we walked in she saw her daddy and was completely elated. He came with flowers and a card. We enjoyed a very nice dinner overlooking the beach. She looked so beautiful, prettier than I had ever seen her. Her hair was a mass of curls and she has lost some weight these last few weeks while she has been getting ready for spring sports. I was so happy to have done all that we did for her that day. She deserved it.
We went back to the hotel and watched Pirates of the Carribbean--the first one, which I hadn't seen. I was overcome by being sick and fell asleep during the movie. The next morning Caroline slept til 11:30! (10:30 really with the daylight savings time). I enjoyed soaking in the bath tub while she slept--something I never have a chance to do at home. When she got up we packed quickly and headed to a breakfast brunch. Then we just kind of putzed around until she wanted to go home and ride her brand new bike.
All in all, with the exception of a couple of irritable moods, we had a great time. She was chipper and happy to have time away from her sisters. Her attitude about God and life were considerably improved. I wish she could always be like this, but a vacation isn't real life, and she has to come home to relationships and noise and school work. Tonight we are watching the Lewis and Clark documentary by PBS and she is happy to learn that Merriweather was likely bipolar, as historians think from his writings. Yes, I want her to see that bipolar people can achieve great things. She will too someday. Tonight, I am at peace.