We aren’t the type of parents to pull our kids out of school for a vacation. At least I always presumed we would be parents who followed the school calendar as though it was gospel. After all, my own parents never let us miss a day. In order to miss even a minute we had to prove we were sick with brain melting fevers, deadly bleeding or lost limbs. So, naturally, if I wasn’t allowed to miss a day, then gosh-darn-it, my children wouldn’t be allowed either.
Turns out my husband and I are totally the type of parents to yank their children out of school.
Which is why on Saturday, May 14, I sat, tucked into a puffy hotel bed at 7:39pm, telling myself I should be an adult and turn off the movie so my girls could make the 3am wake up call, and 6am flight. However, the novelty of having a TV in the same room as beds proved too delicious for words.
We were going to Disneyland!
Fifty days before May 14, on Easter weekend, we surprised the littles with news of the trip. My husband cut three pictures into puzzles and gave one to each girl. Miss C got Mickey Mouse in an airplane; Miss S got Harry Potter; and Miss Q got an airplane.
Miss S kept saying to Miss C, “You have Mickey Mouse, and I have Harry Potter. You have Mickey Mouse, and I have Harry Potter…”
It was cute. They were excited. The video would not have gone viral. I had made a paper chain so they could count down the days. I thought it had 50 links on it, it had 46, so they had to wait until after Easter to start counting.
Surprisingly, it didn’t turn into fifty days of torture; no barrage of Are we going todays? Or I wish we were going to Disneyland right now. Okay, there were a few of the latter, mostly uttered by me, but ultimately, there was so much going on in our lives that the big D folded into a fun thing to think about but it was a way, way off into the future sort of thought.
But that Saturday in the hotel room, it was a mere 24-hours away, and real – as in they didn’t know what to expect sort of way. Real as in they were over the moon about being in a hotel room in Vancouver and that in itself could have been the entire vacation.
I have to give them some slack as I didn’t know what to expect either. Of course, it was a given that I expected to get emotional when we walked through the gates of both Disneyland and Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. I also expected that my children’s joy would bring me joy; and that their sorrow, would send me dragging them to It’s A Small World, so joy could be drilled into their heads over and over and over.
Preparing for our trip was an exercise in denial. After I booked the travel, flight, hotel and theme parks, I returned to chill mum mode. Job done. Done until one of my friends pointed out I couldn’t just pop Gravol, purchase a glass of wine and check out on the flight. Riiight. The kids. They needed clothes, shoes, entertainment, and food… probably a little water as well for good measure. Even with the knowledge I needed to step up, the fire under my butt refused to fully ignite.
Of course, as my ant husband scurried around doing laundry and satisfying his need to prepare weeks if not months in advance, his grasshopper wife decided to wait until the morning we were leaving to have a pout when she learned the shoes (wrapped in plastic) were going to share a bag with the toiletries. Note for next time: if you’re going to suddenly care what goes in which bag, care sooner.
Don’t worry, I remembered to pack the passports.
The girls were up to their usual brand of hilariousness. On the ferry we took to get to the mainland, Miss Q decided to fill her glass with straight cream and asked us if we thought it was milk, while Miss S became hooked on macaroons – possibly the first time we’ve made our money on Miss S at a buffet.
Miss C was content to go along with whatever her sisters were doing, including happily watching the first movie we found on the hotel TV: Octopussy. I’m sure she’ll be requesting her future vanilla steamed milks to be shaken, not stirred.
So there we were, sitting on the cusp of the biggest adventure our family had taken to date, and like the little kid in the old Disney commercials, I was, “Too excited to sleep.”