I had not been to World Disney World in a long, long time. And never with my kids. As we were planning our trip, my husband shared his vision of the children in awe at every Main Street sign, fireworks display, character singing in the street. After all, isn’t that what everyone says–to see Disney through your children’s eyes is the real joy?
And we got to see the fear and terror in our children’s eyes as they ran screaming from Mickey and Minnie Mouse as well as every other costumed dog, duck and rabbit we ran into during our Magic Kingdom vacation.
As I complained after our first day–that it was crowded, that the kids were eating crap, that everything in the park is geared toward spending–my husband reminded me of something. “It’s not about you,” he said.
Indeed it was not. While my own feelings about the pervasive and antiquated princess culture range from mild annoyance to disdain–I bought us tickets to a princess tea party knowing it would floor the girls. And that it did.
God help me, but there is something magical about watching a room full of tiny girls in puffy dresses drink from tea cups as they listen to stories about magic flowers, enchanted castles and a handsome prince.
Tearing up is an appropriate reaction to watching your four year old eat finger sandwiches, right?
Of course, Molly didn’t disappoint: her reaction to Sleeping Beauty was appropriately suspicious.
After riding “It’s a Small World” 25 times, we tried to get the kids on a few other rides–or any other ride. This was not a hit. Henry, Ellie and Molly screamed their way through “Peter Pan.”
My kids were at their happiest when we happened upon a lady blowing bubbles outside the lines to one of the rides.
Really. We could have gone to the park at home with bubbles, kids.
I am not so into holidays. I haven’t really observed a Jewish holiday in as long as I can remember. I usually forget about Hanukkah by the third night; this year I didn’t buy the correct candles to light and almost lit the place on fire with birthday candles in the menorah. But my husband is a nostalgic Catholic, and the holidays remembered from his youth are festive and precious; therefore, we decorate for Christmas and we put together Easter baskets for our little ones.
These celebrations, when they have meaning, must be wonderful. I am guessing this is why people go crazy with preparations, planning, traveling, cooking, shopping, baking and hosting relatives. Not one thing in that list is something I am good at.
Despite my ambivalence toward occasions that require hanging, trimming or hard boiling things, I remain tickled at the kids’ responses to all the silliness. My efforts may be minimal, but my children don’t know that (yet); most of the time they pay off.
Easter morning began around 6:30 after a night of zero sleeping for some of us. Notice the little boy on the sofa in the background.
And after a breakfast of chocolate eggs and jelly beans, the morning continued with a petting zoo, children’s outdoor concert and a sighting of the Easter Bunny–from a safe distance of course.
I get that these experiences, however meaningless they may have been for me at some point, hold a different place now. They must. This is more than any single moment, a trip or a tree or candles that burn to the wicks. This is our present and also our future as the kids will shape their traditions from here. We are living their memories. Today that is a morning of too much sugar, a sunny day with outdoor music and family, farm animals brought to my city kids like the gift that is an early, mild spring itself.