Summer is coming to an end for us. Most parents get antsy around this time, they have the need to return to the normal life of school everyday to help their sanity and their scheduling needs. My family on the other hand has the opposite experience of most of the world. I am a teacher. Summer is my time to spend with my kids, enjoy my kids, and just relax and enjoy life. We have really tried to accomplish that this summer. I know we have had our ups and downs, still struggling with our family drama and working on anger, but ultimately life was so much more relaxing and joyful the last two months. We have been to the beach and the pool (yet apparently my kids hate the beach, except my youngest who “accidentally” ends up having fun there), went on hikes,
drive in movies, summer camps, fairs, concerts and more concerts and well…you get the picture. For the most part we had a good summer, which is culminating in one last hurrah. Disneyland. The happiest place on earth.
It truly is the happiest place. I love Disneyland. Only psycho grumpy freaks don’t enjoy Disneyland. Yes, there are crowds, yes you have to stand in line for ever, yes it is expensive. Welcome to life. Hurry up and wait. The best part about Disneyland is seeing it through the eyes of a child. My kids need a dose of the happiest place on earth, they have really experienced a crappy type of unhappiness this past year that no child should ever be subjected to. Even if I am stretching myself thin a bit to get them there, it is worth it.
I grew up in Southern California in the 80’s and 90’s. My parents divorced when I was just 2 years old. I did not understand that being in a single parent home was different, and it was back then. I did know that my Dad came around sometimes, when he did it was all fun and games. In retrospect, I know that he did not support us financially like he should have, and did not deal with the daily grind of kids. He seemed like the kind of Dad that all kids dreamed of, always happy, always wanting his kids time and attention above everything else. This was precious to me, but now I know that he acted cowardly in his fatherly duties. I do not say this to judge him, but more to acknowledge my mothers struggle as a single parent. I do not know why he chose to not help my mom, or to only show up periodically to bless us with gifts and then leave. I do know that one of those gifts was Disneyland. ALL THE TIME. How could a kid not love that dad, right?
Well it wasn’t just that he took us to Disneyland. Eventually all kids see through the false motives of people, including parents. The thing that I loved about going to Disneyland is that my Father really loved it to. Like a kid would love it.
I have very fond memories of him singing “It’s a small world” as we stood in line for the ride with the happiest expression on his face. Or his bubbling enthusiasm for the Tiki room which was his favorite attraction, and how he would build up our anticipation and excitement for the mechanical birds that popped in and out of the room. Personally I think he was just an old fart that need a bit of a rest to endure the rest of the walking and waiting, I think he was genius.
My Dad passed away 15 years ago and it was one of the biggest losses of my life. Losing a parent is hard for anyone. My PapaDad was special to so many, and his happiness and zeal for life touched so many. As most people will say, it doesn’t get easier, just longer between serious heartaches. This year was a year that I truly felt the loss of my Dad. With everything I went through it would have been really great if I could have called my Daddy to come comfort me and love on me. Or to just tell me to suck it up and stop my whining. Just to hear his voice would be so comforting. There is a way for me to do that…
So, happy birthday to my first Baby, a last hurrah for summer and a great big hug from my Papa. That is what we are going to be doing before summer is up. This will help us to move on to a better happier new (school) year. Faces will hurt from smiling so much, feet will ache from walking so much and hearts will heal with happiness and laughter and fond memories to overwhelm the senses.
Disneyland! Thank you for being a light in this ever present darkness.