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Spontaneity, Wonder, and Excitement


If you’re been following my blog for the past couple of weeks, I’ve taken a risk by allowing my children to choose a topic. So far, Anna asked me to talk about celebrating holidays by decorating our seasonal display case. Hudson requested I talk about Harry Potter. This week is Nora, my seven-year-old wild card. You never know what will come out of her mouth and that’s one of the things that makes being her mom such a joy (if not a little nerve-wracking).

When I asked her to come up with a topic, she said:

“Ummmm…the Babel tower? (she really likes that story). No, toots! (she giggles) No, Disney World!

So, I’m going to talk about Disney World. I probably could have worked with the Tower of Babel and talked about pride or God’s power. I really didn’t want to dedicate an entire blog to toots, though that would have made Nora laugh and laugh. So, though I’m no expert, I’ll talk about Disney World. My sister is the actual expert and I’ve never planned a trip there without her help. Seriously, if you’re going to Disney, ask for her to help you.

Before I talk about Disney World, let me talk about something I actually am an expert on: Nora. We joke that Nora suffers not only from being a middle child, but she’s the second middle child. It’s as if she couldn't have had the good fortune of even being born first of the middle children. She actually set an alarm on our Alexa for someone to give her a kiss each day. Literally, every morning, Alexa says, "Here's your reminder. Give Nora a kiss." She won't let birth order keep her from getting the attention she desires and her huge personality helps with that too.

Of my kids, Nora is the first to want to be woken up early to do Bible study with me. Sure, she loves the “just Nora time” attention, but she also loves her Bible. I wasn’t surprised when she said, the Babel tower at first. She truly delights in the stories from the Bible and her excitement for the word encourages me every time we read it together.

Nora is spunky. She does these regular videos that are so Nora. She truly thinks she has a Youtube channel (shhh) even though I just post them in Facebook. They range from what she learned in the Bible to Halloween and bedtimes stories. Just a short video to let her adoring public know what’s on her mind.

It’s actually funny that Nora asked me to write about Disney World, because (gasp!) we’ve never taken her there. Anna’s been to Disney four times because when she was really little, Ryan had a regular work conference in Orlando, so we would tag along and do a quick day or two trip. With four kids, that’s not really doable anymore. I actually wrote a blog about how we plan to do Disney in shifts taking only two kids at a time to make it more special. We’ve done the first trip, but before we were able to make good on taking the younger two kids, COVID made things more difficult. My hope is that her first time to Disney won’t include a pandemic and masks. (though I know plenty of people are having a great time at Disney right now despite all of that.)

When Nora suggested I talk about Disney, I said, “But you’re never been there.” She said, “Well, if you write about it in your blog, I’ll know more about it.” I just love her so much.

I remember going to Disney World as a kid a couple of times. My Aunt and Uncle lived in Florida, so we had a reason to go. I had been to King’s Island, so I thought I knew what an amusement park was like, but Disney was so different. It was a completely different world. Like I stepped into a dream. Walking down Main Street or riding Space Mountain, Disney World was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before or since.

I know plenty of adults who aren’t crazy for the mouse, and they have the right to their opinion (not matter how wrong it is). And I know it’s stupid expensive and trips that are too long may turn perfectly kind kids into little entitled monsters (mostly because they’re tired). But still. As an adult, I feel exactly the same when I enter Disney World as I did as a kid. The magic and wonder of entering a completely different world is the same as a 42-year-old as it was when I was 7.

As a parent, it’s awesome to see your kids enjoy Disney. When I took my two oldest kids on a three day trip in 2019, I found myself looking at the kids reaction more than what was actually happening. The thrill and excitement in their eyes was priceless. It was a wonderful trip that I’ll never forget. But my most recent trip to Disney really sticks in my mind.

Last winter, my sister, who I mentioned being a Disney trip planner, planned to use a free park ticket and she asked me to go along. We didn’t have months to prepare. We didn’t get our favorite resort and we didn’t make dining reservations. It was nothing like any trip we’d ever taken to Disney, but none of that mattered. This trip was in February of 2020 just a short month before the world shut down. It was one glorious day with my best friend that we valued even more when the pandemic hit and we looked back on how carefree we were just weeks before.

There were whiny kids on busses and strollers everywhere, but we got to ignore all that because none of the kids were ours. It’s amazing how easy it is to block all that out when we weren’t the ones planning potty stops or passing out snacks. We went at our own pace, which was pretty fast if I do say so myself. We hopped from park to park taking advantage of the new Skyliner whenever possible. We lucked out and got fast passes on the new Star Wars rides and we didn’t stress if we couldn’t do an attraction. We packed as much fun into one day as we could and we can’t wait to do it again. I think what I liked most about that trip was being a kid again with my sister. Not being a fellow mom, but a kid. And since we are six and a half years apart, we weren’t really ever kids at the same time. At least not in the same stages of childhood, so truly being a kid again with her felt like a first.

I’m looking forward to Nora’s first trip to Disney World. I can’t think of a place more suited for my girl who is so full of spunk. She will love it. I pray our world will be back to normal soon so we can start planning that trip. She’s not going to let me forget the promise I made when I took the older two and that’s okay with me.

Just like all of the things I’ve learned from my kids: spontaneity, wonder, and excitement, Disney makes it easy to feel like a kid again. It really is the most magical place on earth.

Blessings,

Shannon