I am so excited to spend the summer with this kid.
He’s in school for what feels like forever longer, thanks to the snow days piling up and getting tacked on to the end of the year. Since we aren’t really that close to summer break yet, we have just been planning: planning our activities, joining the swim club, making sure our museum memberships are up to date, thinking about what friends we should drag to Kennywood with us, and, for my sanity, signing up for a few week-long summer camps.
I think he’s almost as excited as I am.
We have to go back.
One of my friends texted me on our first day there and told me to take it easy. To not cram too much in, especially on the first day. We were exhausted, overheated, and basically teetering on the edge of miserable. I took her advice seriously that day and throughout the rest of the trip: when it felt like we weren’t having fun anymore it was time to go.
So, we spent a lot of time at our hotel.
Fortunately the hotel was lovely (because Disney, man!) and cooling off while having a snack and a rest was really good for all of us. Alex actually went to bed before eight on our first night there, and I struggled to figure out how to take pictures of the fireworks across the way. We enjoyed the air conditioning, the balcony, and the peace and quiet that getting away offered us.
Taking it easy was amazing advice. We didn’t push to ride everything, we weren’t stressed trying to fit in every show, and we let ourselves skip some fast passes if it meant more happiness. Because of that, though:
We have to go back.
There is so much we didn’t see. There are rides we didn’t ride, shows we didn’t see, and we barely even scratched the surface of characters. We didn’t do anything in Epcot other than eat, skipped out on all tours and scavengers hunts, and I didn’t even get to try Dole Whip.
In all of the times people have said Disney is great, I just kind of brushed them off. Sure it is.
But it really, actually, truly, is great. They weren’t lying. They weren’t exaggerating. And there is so much to do.
I hope we can go back some day.
I didn’t actually believe that it would be magical. I mean, it’s a really well organized theme park, right? Sure, Disney has this reputation for being impeccably maintained, and for the entire staff going above and beyond. And sure, the whole booking/organizing process was easier than any other vacation I’ve ever planned, but how could it be that magical?
Beyond being clean and beautiful, and beyond the (sort of creepy) fact that there were employees (::cough:: sorry, cast members) willing and able to help you before you even realized you needed help, and beyond the fact that the food was amazing, our whole trip was pretty much perfect. Sure, it rained more than is typical, and, sure, our first day was a mess because waking up at 3:30am is not a good idea no matter the fun plans for the day. (Lesson learned: don’t take the super early flight and expect to do much of anything that day.) It didn’t matter, though, that our first day was kind of meh because the days that followed more than made up for it.
The last time we took Alex to an amusement park was when we visited our adorable and, I think, pretty darn awesome, Kennywood right here in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, he didn’t exactly love it. He didn’t want to go on any rides, and, quite frankly, was a little scared of everything. After essentially forcing him to ride one of the milder of the roller coasters, he exclaimed that he hated it and would never go on a roller coaster again. It wasn’t the best day, and the only thing that saved the day was when we ran into some friends. Instead of being a total disaster, at least we got to see friends, and I got to hold my breath and hope that he got over his fear of amusement parks.
So, needless to say, I was a bit worried about how the whole Disney Thing would go. Would he want to go on any of the rides that I was so excited about? Would he enjoy the dark rides at all? How would he handle all of the walking?
I had nothing to be concerned about.
Once Alex rode Space Mountain, he was completely sold on rides. All he wanted to do was find the big rides, and for the rest of the trip we dubbed him Our Little Thrill Seeker.
Each time we got off of a roller coaster, he would ask to do it again. When I was able to see his face during rides, his smile would be huge, and his laugh infectious.
Clearly, we have to go back. And I’m officially so excited to take him to Kennywood again and again this summer. What good is having a kid to take to amusement parks if they won’t go on all of the fun rides with you?
It took a long, long, time to get here. Something about this winter felt harder than usual, even though apparently last winter was colder. The cold, the snow, the darkness lingered. It held on and at some point I genuinely wondered how I would deal with a perpetual winter. Would I learn to deal with the cold? Would I whine less? Would I finally find a hat and gloves that kept me warm?
But then: Spring. It’s here, finally, and it feels great.
Holidays are tricky. Every family celebrates them differently. Beyond that fact that some families celebrate Passover and others celebrate Easter, and others yet do something different entirely or nothing at all, the way that they are celebrated is different. Some families go all out, with large presents, while others do no more than an easter egg hunt. For some families it’s a religious holiday, and for others it is completely secular. The emphasis of the day can be so different.
For us, Easter is about family. It’s about an Easter Egg Hunt. It’s about delicious food, stories, companionship, and, obviously, candy.
For us, for some reason that was probably not discussed ahead of time, the Easter Bunny is the one who hides the eggs for the hunt.
Similar to Christmas, though, I want the credit for the good stuff. The Easter Bunny may be awesome at putting jelly beans in plastic eggs, but I want the credit of the adorable Lego mini figure, the tiny Cars car, and the amazing little Iron Man toy, stuffed inside of the eggs.
A few nights before Easter, I told Alex that maybe we could have two hunts this year. We could have the Easter Bunny Hunt, inside, in the morning, and then we could have a second hunt later in the day after everyone else arrived.
“How do you know the Easter Bunny will hide them inside?”
I mumbled something about the weather, and who knows, and that whatever the Easter Bunny did would be fine and we would still be able to do a second hunt later!
“So, you talk to the Easter Bunny, then?”
“What do you think, Alex?”
“TELL ME! Mom! I want to know! Do you talk to him? Do you know him? How do you know him?”
These are questions I don’t like and am not prepared to answer. I mean, what does a fictional human sized bunny look like? Does he talk? Is he as tall as Daddy? How does he get in our house? I hope he doesn’t hide the candy outside like last year because last year there were ants in some of the eggs. Where does he get the candy? Why does he give us candy? And sometimes toys? I can’t lie. But I also can’t tell the truth.
I simply told him that I was unable to answer his questions.
Like a spy or something.
Fortunately, he accepted that. And we moved on.
And Easter was wonderful. We did two hunts! Both indoors, at his request, with the second hunt being, “harder! The Easter Bunny barely hid them at all. I literally saw an egg when I woke up. Like, I literally woke up and there was an egg right there, mom.”
So, I hid them in actual hiding places. Instead of placing them on a couch cushion, on the TV stand, in the fruit basket, I actually hid them. Inside drawers, behind cabinets, under tables.
Today we found another egg. I wonder how many more remain.