Disclosure: My family and I were invited to stay at the Hyatt Lost Pines. We enjoyed a complimentary night’s stay and a media rate for our second night in addition to a complimentary dinner and other amenities. I was not financially compensated in any other way for these photos or my blog post. All photos and opinions are mine.
Our son Waylon’s birthday falls just two days after Christmas. For the last few years, we’ve left town to celebrate with him away from the distractions of decorations and holiday hubub. We want his birthday to feel special and separate from the holiday.
This trip we stayed at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop, just a 90-minute drive from San Antonio. The warm and inviting, yet casual atmosphere of the resort, with it’s focus on nature and family activities, was the perfect place for us to unwind and celebrate Waylon.
While at the Hyatt Lost Pines, Waylon turned six years old. He’s not a baby anymore, much as I’ve been in denial about that.
After we settle into room 2424 (perfectly located because it overlooks a field with longhorns, alpacas, and horses – be sure to ask for this corner room when you go!), Waylon and I head out to explore the resort while Delaney and Roger stay behind.
The sun is about to set on his 6th birthday and there we are, just mother and son, hand in hand, as we were on the quiet December night of his birth, after his sister and dad left the hospital for the day.
Maybe it’s because he’s our second born, but Waylon is usually cautious, sticking more closely to me than his independent sister. Each year, however, he adds a bit more purpose to his stride. He drops my hand more often now to run toward experiences instead of away from them (unless those experiences include costumed characters, in which case I’m sure he’ll continue to run away from those for many years to come!).
His normally reserved demeanor falls away as we walk around the 405-acre resort, up and down hallways, peeking into ballrooms and restaurants, and strolling through inviting, wide open outdoor spaces where adults gather and children play.
His words bubble out with unrestrained excitement: “LOOK, mommy! A bouncy house! Hey, there’s an ice cream shop! Can we get some? Bikes! I wanna ride one. Can I? There’s a fire in that pit! Oooooh. I’m gonna run down that big hill.”
And he’s off, flying down the steep hill with abandon, stopping only when greeted by the banks of the Colorado River.
When I finally catch up to him we attempt to skip stones on the water (a task his father is surely more suited to than I). The sun sinks low, streaking the grey sky with fiery orange hues.
I sneak a peek at Waylon. He looks tall, so much taller than he did just this morning. His cheeks are bright with exertion and wonder and the chill of the air as the sun dips down. Suddenly, he’s off again, running back up the hill, so overcome with curiosity about what’s on the other side of the resort that he barely looks back to make sure I’m behind him.
I watch Waylon from a short distance as he sticks his fingers into his mouth, something he does only when contemplating a daunting task. In this case, riding a pony. I watch his eyebrows crunch into a familiar furrow as he puzzles over whether or not to go through with it. His mouth turns down and, occasionally, his eyebrows shoot up when he looks over at me, silently asking, “Is this really going to be OK?” He lets me know, without a sound, that he’s terrified.
In the last moment before he must take action I’m sure he’s going to walk away from what he had been looking forward to for a week. But he proves me wrong. Slowly, he walks over to the small set of steps that lead him to the pony’s blonde back. He accepts the stable girl’s helping hand and then throws his leg over Strawberry, a gentle pony if there ever was one. Two stable girls lead him and his pony forward. I follow behind, quickly snapping photos, wanting to remember, forever, the moment when his curiosity overcame his fear.
The stable girls cheerfully ask him all sorts of questions: How old is he? What grade is he in? Where is he from? Is this his first time on a horse? He doesn’t answer. Occasionally he nods. Mostly, he looks down at the ground, probably pondering how far down it is from his perch on Strawberry’s back. On they walk, around the woods, making a few loops, a 15 minute ride in all. Waylon doesn’t smile. The furrow never leaves his brow. Not once.
Afterward, when the stable manager prints a photo of him riding Strawberry, Waylon holds it in his hand and examines it, proudly. His smile is back and confidence radiates from his brightly shining brown eyes, from the way he struts over to his dad to show off the picture. There it is, the moment my baby became a boy.
Today’s adventures include meeting the longhorns, T-bone and Ribeye, and, for the very brave, sitting on one for a photo. Delaney, our dauntless daughter, is beside herself, fizzy with energy, clamoring to climb on top of a longhorn. This girl was born to sit on a longhorn.
We head over to watch the cowgirls prepare the longhorns for their walk across the resort to the place where the guests line up to meet them.
While Delaney keeps up with the procession, Waylon hangs back, holding my hand. He’s quiet and I see him slip two fingers from his free hand into his mouth. Today likely won’t be the day he rides a longhorn. For now, holding the stuffed one he received as a birthday gift from the Hyatt is as close as he’ll get. But after a weekend full of growth, celebration, and surprises, that suits his mama just fine.
View the full set of photos from our visit to the Hyatt Lost Pines: