Last year, after sharing the news of our upcoming trip to Disney World, I realized why so many parents wait to tell their kids about a trip to the happiest place on earth. It’s not because they want to see the shock and awe on their children’s faces when they are told the trip of their dreams is a mere couple of hours away. It’s not because they wish they’d had such an experience when they were kids, and it’s not because they’re trying to infuse magic into a normally magic-free existence.
No, no, no, my friends.
It’s because smart parents don’t want to be nagged incessantly over the days, weeks or months leading up to a Disney trip.
In case you haven’t taken your kids before, imagine the unbearable chanting of “are we there yet” you hear incessantly during a long car ride . And then multiply it by a trillion. Why would any parent willingly subject themselves to that?
This year, we smartened up. I spent the few last weeks secretly weeding through last year’s summer clothes to figure out what the kids’ needed to wear in 90 degree heat. New sandals, new bathing suits, new shorts, new sunscreen; the whole nine yards brought into the house bit by bit so not to raise suspicion. Hotel and dinner reservations made while the kids were at school and the suitcases loaded into the car last night while the kids slept obliviously a floor above.
Yesterday was a morning like any other. “Get up!!” I hollered, “you’re going to be late for school!!” I shoved breakfast down their throats and told them they could watch 15 minutes of TV before we left or we were going to be late. And then Jeff came in and we unleashed the plan, months in the making. “Do you guys really feel like going to school today?” Jeff asked. Lily did; the boys not so much. “ Well, I don’t want to go to work.”
“What if we could go somewhere else?” I picked up. “Where would it be?”
“Roller skating!” Lily yelled. “Bowling!” Ben proclaimed. Evan just stared at us, wondering what the hell was going on and why he had to stop watching Sponge Bob ten minutes early.
“Anywhere in the world, you guys, and you pick skating and bowling? C’mon!”
“DISNEY!” Ben hollered, right on cue. Jeff and I stood a little taller, preparing ourselves for the royal crowing of Mommy and Daddy of the Year.
“OK!” we smiled as I recorded the happenings. “Let’s go!!”
And that’s when the best laid plan fell to shit.
Instead of the cheering and exuberance we were waiting for, they scowled at us. “You’re lying,” Lily accused. “Yeah right.” Ben pouted. Evan wanted Sponge Bob back.
“Guys! Go look in the trunk. Remember those flip-flops I made you try on? The new bathing suits? The sunscreen we bought? We’re leaving now. SURPRISE!!!!!”
It took until we were on route to the airport to convince Lily and Evan that it was actually happening and Ben still didn’t believe us until we passed through security at the airport. Good to know that my children aren’t huge fans of surprises.
At least Jeff and I escaped the alternative of inevitable and non-stop whining leading up to the trip. One morning was bad enough…