Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Where dreams really do come true

We took our first major family vacation this month, the kind that requires passports and plane tickets (but no shots).

There are two types of vacations. Our honeymoon 14 years ago was spent soaking in a jacuzzi, feeding ducks, making puzzles and sandcastles, and drinking sparkling apple juice while watching "Sleepless in Seattle" in a little cottage in the Whiteshell. That's the restful kind.

A couple weeks ago we got on a jet bound for Disneyworld with our kids, my parents, and my brother. We left the house at 3:45 AM and spent every day from 9 AM till 9 PM on our feet in the Florida sun exploring all Mickey Mouse had to offer, from a 13 story elevator drop, to a white water soaking, to a singing Nemo swinging from the rafters. That's not the restful kind! It was a memory-making, relationship-building, mind and body-stretching kind of vacation.

Here are my highlights:

My return to childhood: Other than the fact that I was responsible 24/7 for making sure my kids didn't get lost in a crowd in a strange country, I got to be a kid again. I screamed on the wild rollercoasters. I got little heart flutters when I saw Cinderella, Goofy and Jiminy Cricket. (K. kept reminding me, "Mom, it's just someone in a suit!") And I got to see G.'s wide eyes when she met the Little Mermaid. ("See K., she is a real mermaid with a tail!")

The garbage can: Our first day at lunch K. came running up, jumping and giggling about a robotic trashcan that thanked him for the fries. G.'s response: "See K., I told you everything at Disney was alive!"

The surprises: I listened to G. scream all the way through Thunder Mountain, a runaway train in a old mine. But when the train came to a stop she yelled, "That was great! Let's do it again!" I was afraid the Haunted Mansion would freak K. out but he loved it! I thought the kids would go batty in all the 20-60 minute lineups, but they were so patient.

The star of the show: We went early to "Storytime with Belle" and got a seat in the front row. When Belle came out she said, "I need someone to help me tell the story. My father Maurice was a great inventor. Who will play my father?" and she pointed at K.! She called him on the stage and asked him, "If you were going to invent something what would it be?" He said, "Actually I have plans to build a Hovermobile, which is part airplane, part helicopter." She was so impressed! He was great on stage, quivering with fear in the dark forest and dancing with Mrs. Potts and Lumiere at the happy ending!

The gratitude: As we were getting out of the boat in "It's a Small World," K. told my mom, "Thanks so much for this trip!" She turned to me and said, "You coached him to say that, right?" And I hadn't.