“If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens.”~Fay Weldon
After much discussion and deliberation, one night, in early December, Braydon and I finally bit the bullet– we got the kids to bed, set up our laptops on the kitchen counter, and got to work booking our Disney trip. We picked the end of January to go, mainly because that is one of Disney World’s most least-busy times of year, and it also coincided nicely with our Adoption Day.
We vowed to each other that we would keep it a secret, and make it a total surprise, for the bambinos. That part of it — the secret of it, our conspiratorial plotting and planning, the wink winks and nod nods, the hiding of plane tickets and Disney mailings and To Do Lists, the only-us-knowing — all of that was, ultimately, just as fun for Braydon and I as Disney World was for the bambinos. I’m serious. We so, so, so loved surprising them with this trip! It will probably be one of the best gifts we ever give. And there’s not much I love more than thoughtful and generous gift giving.
We told very, very few people about our plans.
The nights leading up to our date of departure were crazy-fun! Braydon and I would get the kids to bed then stay up late with the prepping, packing, and planning. We were hiding everything in a corner of our basement storage area. We went up and down the stairs about a million times. All while the bambinos slept unknowingly. As any parent who has ever travelled with young kids knows, these sorts of trips involve a ton of organization, preparation, and packing. I love every minute of it. When I’m doing it, often at midnight, exhausted from a long day of work, and strung-out from all that needs to be done to get ready to leave for a week, I am smiling inside and consciously thinking: “Gosh, I am going to miss these days so much when they are grown up and off on their own.”
The day before was busy (we wrapped up work, finished last minute errands, and — amidst everything else — did an Adoption Day celebration for the boys at their school). All the while, Braydon and I were just bursting with excitement. That night we finished packing, loaded up the car (hiding everything under a quilt), and somehow in there I also managed to attend a 10-11pm Lehigh Gryphon meeting (!! so crazy! but something I like to do to stay in the loop as a Residential Fellow). We got to bed very late that night and hard a very hard time falling asleep because we were so excited!
And then the long-anticipated morning came. And everything went according to plan– We had turned off the boys’ alarm clock, and when they woke up we told them there was a school delay. We also told them that we had to go to the airport to pick up a friend who had been away on a trip. They went along with everything. And as we secretly snuck our five toothbrushes into the luggage and shoved the kids’ lovies into my bag on the sly, Braydon and I tried to not even look at each other for fear that we’d somehow accidentally let the secret slip in the 11th hour.
We arrived at the airport, parked the car, and told the kids to get out– explaining that we’d all go in to greet our friend. As soon as we got out of the car I pulled them together and told them: “Guess what?! We have a big surprise for you!”
“WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY!!!!!”
“We’re getting on an airplane and going to Walt Disney World today! Right now! We’re going to Disney!!”
If you’ve never done this for your kids, and you have the capacity to do it (which means you are — as we are — extremely privileged and fortunate), then I highly recommend that you do it ASAP. It was one of the best moments of my life — giving my kids that gift. Their reactions were everything I’d imagined them to be and utterly priceless. Just priceless.
What I got from that moment was worth every penny we’d saved and every minute we’d planned for that trip. And we hadn’t even left the airport parking lot yet.
It was awesome.
An hour later we hit a snafu (there are always snafus, right?!)… every flight was cancelled due to extreme fog. Flight cancelled. With no departure at any point in the next several hours. We were determined to get to Florida that day, so that we wouldn’t miss one of our 5 precious days in Disney. Braydon, who in recent years has become an absolute Master of Trouble Shooting, worked his magic and in no time had us re-booked on flights out of Newark, had us and our luggage all back in the car, and had us to our gate in the Newark airport just in time to catch the flight. The excitement of all of this unexpected re-arranging-of-plans just added to the thrill and adventure of it all. And we arrived in Orlando just one hour later than our original flight would have landed.
Coming up next: The Most Magical Place on Earth!