I just returned from what was essentially a long weekend in the most magical place on earth…aka, Disney World. I took my older two girls 3 years ago (my then-2-year-old would have been too overwhelming to take!) and it was time to create a little magic for my 5 year old. So I redeemed my Disney credit card points and booked it!
When I booked this trip, I said…I'm done. I've fulfilled my Disney obligation as a parent…so we never have to go again. All three of my girls will have experienced the magic at the perfectly magical age, so in my estimation, I could cancel my Disney cards because I would never need the points again, but now I'm not so sure! I *want* to go back!
Now, Disney certainly is not a relaxing vacation by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly provides a lot of fun, laughter, adventure and excitement. Of course, there's also a lot of walking, exhaustion, overpriced food, whining and temper tantrums…but we won't go there.
As I look back at our 4 days away, the best moments were not necessarily the thrills of Space Mountain or Thunder Mountain Railroad, the exhilaration of Soarin' or Mission Space, or even the delicious fear in the Tower of Terror. Those were wonderful, no doubt. But what I will remember is watching my 10 year old wave (rather shyly) to Cinderella in the Spectromagic parade. My 4th grader is on the verge of breaking into adolescence, but in that moment, I saw that she is truly still my little girl. A little girl who firmly believes that she could turn out to be a princess because Aurora told her that she only found out that she was a princess when she turned 16.
My 8 year old wakes up in the morning with her hair in a 'tizzy'. Especially when it is humid, it is crazy curly, crazy wild…and with the tint of red on those blonde locks…she looks every bit the wild child that she sometimes acts out to be. I long ago tagged her as the one that would cause the most parental angst when she is a teenager. That said, she has the kindest, sweetest heart (when she feels like it). But on this trip, what I really discovered about her is that she has such an adventurous spirit. There was not a single ride in that entire magical world that she wouldn't ride, and the sheer joy radiating from that freckled face of hers when she got off of the Rockin Roller Coaster…well, those are the sights that make the tumultuous life of a mother all worth it.
And then there is the little one. The one who, ever since the day she was born, has created an interesting dynamic in our family (I've learned to put a positive spin on it). I always joke that while she may not ultimately have the greatest academic successes, she will most definitely be the most successful of my three girls…mainly because she won't have it any other way. She knows what she wants…and she gets it. And her older two sisters succcumb to her every wish, whether they like it or not. And just because we were in Florida on such a wonderfully special vacation doesn't mean that she would instantly become anything other than the challenging and 'spirited' gal that she is. Surely a 5 year old little girl would put on the last remaining pair of underwear rather than sit in the hotel room while her sisters went to the parks…but no, she was content to sit there staring out the window (after the tears and screaming subsided). But what makes me most crazy about her…is what I love most about her. She is so, so strong and determined. She entertains herself better than the other two girls ever have, and seeing her clutch onto her notepad and pencil through every park turnstile (you know…in case she got bored) helped her become even more endearing to me (if that is possible).
I did not take a ton of pictures. Not even a bunch. But…I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad that I enjoyed the moments *with* them, rather than trying to capture the moments on film…or worse yet, trying to create the moments so that I could capture them on film. I was lucky to photograph a long-time client while we were there, so I *did* have my camera with me (I was going to leave the 'biggun' home!)…so of course I did drag it along with me for short bits of time…