Sandy Klein

Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it. – Harvey Mackay

Must be nice.  Your kids are spoiled.  You must be rich.

It is.  Maybe some.  We are not.

The first two big family trips that we took with our kids were for funerals.  Last minute, nightmare trips, that were just bad under all circumstances.  Yet there are moments from those trips that still today sparkle in my mind.  The Forth of July in Indiana.  We were there for my grandma’s funeral.  She died on my daughter’s 3rd birthday.  But then we were in Indiana for the Forth of July.  My girls won’t remember that one, but my husband and I sure do.  His first midwestern 4th.  Small town parade, fireworks in the backyard, fireworks by the river.  Seeing my cousins with their young kids.  The second trip for my grandfathers funeral.  Different side of the family.  Going through pictures in my grandpa’s drawers, the pipe that I still keep in my house, my Aunt Kathy’s soup, and watching her read stories to my young kids while sitting on the floor.  All trips create memories.  No matter the circumstance.  You’ve got to look for the happy moments.

So if you can find moments of joy in tough times, well then what can you find at Disneyland?  So off we went with a one year old and a three year old to Disneyland.  Many people say that is crazy.  One thing we have learned is that at every age, as long as your expectations fit with your situation, you can have an amazing time.  That week was one of the best weeks our family ever had.  We had no expectations for all we would get done.  We were just together.  That trip defined how we look at vacations.

Since that trip we have “done Disney” every couple of years.  As a family to Disneyland, When we said we wouldn’t, but did anyway, when visiting grandma and grandpa in Florida.  Three well planned Disney cruises (well two with one pending).  Each trip has been different and amazing.  Sure we’ve hit Indiana for a wedding, and South Dakota for an escape, but it always comes back to Disney for us.  There is a peace that we find at Disney.  How there is something at each age that is special for that age.  There are so many memories from those trips.  Sure there are a million pictures, but those only capture a few.

There is the excitement when we boarded our first cruise and and the girls saw a window in our room and jumped on their dad.  One on his back and one on his front.  Yep I caputured that moment on the camera.  There are memories of little girls dancing in line to meet characters.  There is the most awful cruise experience with the head lice epidemic that we can laugh about now.  There is the anticipation, and the excitement leading up, and the relaxing calm during.  There is the time we cried at the end because well we knew the calm of our family time would soon be replaced with dinging cell phones, bills, and responsibilities.

So no we aren’t rich.  We work very very hard.  We pay for a trip before we take the trip.  This next trip is paid for from a car wreck settlement last year.  Found money.  But it’s worth it.  Don’t judge where we go, but be jealous of the time we get to spend together.  You might not be able to make it on a Disney Cruise, but can you afford a cabin in the woods for a weekend.  Or even a tent.  Can you turn off your phones and TVs for 7 days and focus on nothing but your family.  Can you give your kids your undivided attention without anyone on the outside being able to get in?

That is what vacation means to us.  Yes be jealous.  Jealous of the time we have with our children and jealous of the memories we will make.  I hope it motivates you to find a way to find those moments with the poeople you love.

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