All I really want to know is how many of you laughed at me when I said the day before I left on a Disney vacation with a two and half and 10 month old that I was “looking forward to some relaxation time?” Having been to Disney a number of times and always observing with a sympathetic eye those poor schmoes battling the elements, fighting their strollers every bit as much as the heat, shelling out hundreds of dollars to try to make hot and cranky kids happy, you would think I would have known better.
But I didn’t. For some reason, I had really built this trip up in my mind into being one that would wipe away my tiredness and rejuvenate me at the onset of summer. Ha. But despite finding my feet throbbing every night and my body about to expire from heat exhaustion on a daily basis, these last two weeks have been two of the best of my life. Here’s the top five reasons why:
5. The car ride. Sounds miserable, doesn’t it? Two days of traveling with two young kids, with a van packed to the ceiling? And it’s true that it was brutal at times – I swear the state of Georgia doubles in size between the time we drive through it going down and the time we drive through it coming back. But 17 hours in the van singing stupid songs with your girls during the day time, then talking to your wife about, well, everything, during the naps and night times, is better than the convenience of any two hour flight.
4. This was the first vacation I’ve ever taken in my adult life where I’ve done no work. None. I took it to do, just in case I had free moments. But I had none – and I’ve never been so happy about that. Work is fun, and work is good. But there are times when it’s the least important thing in the world.
3. The Toy Story/Nemo/Monsters Inc moments: there truly is nothing like seeing an almost three year old get the wide eyes of excitement when she sees the characters she has learned to repeat, imitate and sing along with on TV appear before her in real life. It was one of the neatest things I’ve ever witnessed.
2. It’s just money. The old Seinfeld line from Frank Costanza is that “you can drop a grand in Disney like THAT.” He’s right. But I don’t even think about all the work that went into making the money we just spent in a couple weeks. Sure, we could have probably saved a lot of money by going somewhere other than Disney, but it’s just money – and holding Addie’s hand in Fantasyland, or holding little Bristol tight when we went soaring into the sky on Dumbo, or the mad sprint pushing a stroller in the parking lot with both girls dying laughing while the heavens opened up and the deluge commenced...all of it is worth it.
1. The screaming sisters that delighted a couple restaurants full of patrons over the last two weeks will only be at the screaming age once. Now, don’t get me wrong – when Bristol got upset in the restaurant and started screaming...and then Addie became upset with Bristol’s screaming and started screaming over the top of her...and then every eye in the joint was focused on our table, I wasn’t sitting back smiling with the video camera or anything. I was yanking Addie out of her highchair to take her to the bathroom for a little Daddy-daughter discipline, while Jen was stuffing melts, chew toys, and pacifiers in Bristol’s mouth. But looking back on it afterwards, both Jen and I laughed. Hard. It was one of those absolutely awful meals where neither girl behaved, but will be one we will never forget. And I guarantee you that when those two girls are grown and we look back through family albums, Jen and I will still be laughing about that night 40 years from now. That memory is worth any temporary stress.
So yes, I have less money, I have more gray hairs, I have more rain-drenched clothes to clean, and I will probably never be exposed to enough air conditioning to bring my body temperature down from the million degree days in the parks we had. But I’d do it again tomorrow. Or maybe the day after.