Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I think I'm moving into Cinderella's Castle


.
Disney really is magical.

Huh.

Who knew?

I expected to return from our trip exhausted, dejected, and perhaps a bit disillusioned. Four days in Disney World with a strong-willed 4-year-old, an even stronger-willed and just-learning-the-power-of-tantrums 17-month-old, my worry-wart of a father and my always-trying-to-please-everyone Mother? I was sure Hubby and I would be kicking ourselves for even coming up with the idea.
.
I was wrong.

Yes, Disney is exhausting and expensive. But, to be quite honest, it really was fantastic. It was near perfect. I kept looking around, waiting for some kind of minor catastrophe to befall us. Weather? Absolutely perfect: not too hot, not too cold and no rain. Dysfunctional family issues? Dad and I managed to avoid all of them. Ben, who can hit 104 degrees with a cold, got a fever on our first night and it magically went away by morning. Aidan Kai, also known as "The Extra-Extra-Extra Light Sleeper," laid right down in his port-a-crib, newly purchased Buzz Lightyear doll in hand, barely uttering a peep all night. We saw every character the kids had hoped to meet. We rode every ride they wanted to ride (some, more than once). There were no headaches, no stomachaches, no projectile vomiting, no fighting siblings. If I didn't know better, I'd think we'd been sprinkled with a bit of pixie dust upon arrival.

And believe me, I didn't go into this with these kinds of expectations. I was...how should I put it?...preparing myself for the worst. I expected regrets (mainly mine).

We came home with bags of souvenirs, 178 pictures, a little more debt, achy backs, and a whole new sense of family.

I am not sure what happened to my boys on this trip, but they seem to have bonded, if this is possible between a one-year-old and a four-year-old who does not like to share the spotlight. One night, I asked Ben if he wanted to sleep next door with his grandparents, just for fun. "Is Aidan going to sleep next door, too? 'Cause I wanna sleep in the room with Aidan." Since our return, Ben has insisted on pulling Aidan's high chair so close to his own chair at the dinner table, that their elbows are nearly touching. They have played together, unsupervised, for hours on end, and (here's the shocking part) Aidan has managed to go unscathed.

And it wasn't just the boys who benefited from this trip. I was able to spend time with my parents away from the reality of life, away from the demands of daily childcare, of work stress, of to-do's. I saw my mother happier than I've seen her in a long time. I was able to put my petty issues with my dad aside for 4 days, and just enjoy his attention, affection, and occasional nuttiness.

And as much as I complain about parenting, it is almost a relief when I feel those moments most moms talk about...the really good ones, the ones in which you know, with absolute certainty, that it is, in fact, all worth it...that there is nothing in the world that can make you feel "that way:" the look on Ben's face when he met Stitch and Lilo, Aidan's wide eyes and pointing in "It's a Small World," my two boys all showered and soapy-smelling in their PJs playing in the hotel room together, trying to squeeze out every last opportunity for fun before bedtime.
.
.
The trip reminded me of why I chose to "do this." Although I am not a big fan of the infant stages, and most days I'd consider trading in a kid for a full night's sleep, and the lack of personal time makes me feel like I'm chained to my children (literally), I wanted a family. I wanted kids. I wanted to hear them play, to watch them grow, to be Mom and Dad, to go on adventures together. Now that Aidan is 18 months, I am starting to see that light at the end of the tunnel...things are getting easier, more fun, more rewarding.
.
On the first night, as I lay in bed, listening to the sounds of my three "men," all of us, for the first time in one room, on our first real vacation together, I was struck by the fact that this was my family. How had this happened? When did it happen? It used to be just "us" against the world.

Now, the "Us" had turned into a different "Us."

And then there were four...

19 comments:

  1. I want some of that pixie dust - puhleeezze?!

    I'm so glad you had a great time; the pictures are awesome!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Welcome back! I was thinking of you and hoping that you were enjoying good weather and good family time. Great pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had been waiting for this post with bated breath and am so glad you had a pixie dusted experience at Disney. It always melts my heart to see my boys be kind to one another when there is nothing in it for them (bribes, begging and the like). You've graduated Mommy boot camp...welcome to the other side!

    ReplyDelete
  4. They say Disney is the happiest place on Earth -- must be some truth to it. I'm so happy for you that the vacation went so well and you've returned so rested and ready for the world!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great looking family! Sounds like you had a fantastic time. I cannot wait to go to Disney world,I have never been..In 2 years I'll take my boys down. I hope its has grande as yours! =)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Awesome about the kids discovering each other. The older one somehow doesn't realize there's a play companion right there in the house till a certain age. How great for both of them and for you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fantastic that you all had a great time! That picture is worth a thousand words.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, Stopping by from SITS. WOW, Disney is the happiest place on earth. Love it. We go there every 4 years....Lucky us...it's time again soon. Glad you had a great time. Looks like the weather was nice too.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am so glad that you loved your vacation! It does sound like you were showered with some pixie dust!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a great post! I am glad it went so well. I love how you discovered you were a family. Stopping by from SITS!

    ReplyDelete
  11. That looks like a whole lot of fun - you're very brave trying that, not sure I'd risk it but after you saying it worked so well perhaps

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sounds perfect! Perfectly amazing! Welcome back... you're making me feel bad that I just booked a vacation without the kids. You are proving that it is actually possible to have a vacation WITH kids and still call it a vacation. You deserved it and I'm so happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. So glad you all had a fun time. And, apropos of nothing and because I am tragically sleep-deprived and have nothing else intelligent to say, may I tell you how lovely your 17-month-old's hair is. Beautiful! (My 17-month-old is lacking in the hair department.)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love Disney- we took our three boys this past summer 4, 3, and 1. Exhausting, but awesome.

    Admitting that you'd sometimes like to trade in your child for a full night's sleep- oh, so been there!

    Stopping in from SITS.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This post made me smile. I loved it. And I am so happy that this trip was the best case scenario for you. It gives me hope that our next vacation might be sooner than later! And that picture is precious- your boys are adorable!
    Thanks for your comment- yes, our posting has slacked for various reasons. I'm trying to get back to it! For the meantime I re-posted an oldie, but hopefully some fairy dust will blow my way and I'll get the writing mojo back. Thanks Liz! Love, Lucy

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congrats are in order for such a wonderful trip. There are so many, many factors to consider. It seems like these type of things could go either way. I'm so happy you guys had such a rockin' time! Hallelujah!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yay! So glad you had a great time, we are going in April. We've been once before but so long ago they don't remember, I can't wait and look forward to watching them just have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This seems to be a great site for purchasing stuff for kids like baby whole sale clothing with fine quality - available with all top brands Barbie, Ben 10, Disney, Peppa Pig, etc.and i would surely like to try their service...i had been relying on http://www.1stkidswholesale.co.uk earlier and they too offered good stuff.

    ReplyDelete

Comments rock...