Thursday, February 7, 2013

Coming Clean About Our Disney Secret

So we have this little secret.  Something we've been keeping quiet because we feel oddly embarrassed and guilty about it.  I guess I shouldn't say "we."  I feel embarrassed and guilty about it.  My husband is not nearly so concerned with what people might possibly think.  I'm the one telling him not to post the pictures and videos to facebook.

Here's my hang up.  You all know our line of work.  And people in our line of work have this reputation/expectation for, you know, suffering.

So I didn't want everyone knowing.  About Disneyland.  About how we go there ... every week.

There. I said it.

It's true. We do, in fact, as a family go play at Disneyland once a week.

And Disneyland is sort of the opposite of suffering.  It's sort of crazy extravagant.  And when your line of work depends on the generosity of others, you just don't do crazy extravagant things.  Except, perhaps, when God plops something in your lap.

You see, we had been trying to figure out how to tell our children, that, yes, we are living 15 minutes from Disneyland for two whole years, but, sorry, you're not ever going there.

Then some people gifted us with a generous sum of money with specific instructions that it be used for something special and extravagant, not daily and practical.  So we bought Disney's cheapest annual passes and are now able to spend a half-day there about once a week.

And as someone who was not a big Disney fan, nor huge lover of amusement parks, I have to admit that I absolutely adore our Disney time.  Yes, we do realize that it may be completely distorting our children's expectations for life from here on out.  But we've decided to embrace the gift we've been given.  It is our family happy place.  It's our time to be together, to put aside the worries of the week and just enjoy.

Because it's become a part of our routine, the kids don't wig out with the overwhelmingness that is "Disney for the first time."  There's no pressure to fit it all in, because, of course, we'll be back next week.

We spend nearly nothing while we're there, since we pull out our slightly-smashed PBJ's from the bottom of the backpack, along with some apple slices, and call that dinner.  Aaron and I get in our weekly power walking.  My two year old is learning what it is to wait your turn.    My baby is content to sleep and go in the Ergo.  And my daughter, she is learning to grow courageous.  A year and a half ago she was terrified to tears of a carousel, seriously.  Now she rides some of the fastest rides there are, proudly declaring afterwards, "I was soo brave!"

Then there are the parades.  Oh, the parades.  Truly, they are magical.  Ellie and Aiden stand at the curb, bouncing and dancing with glee.  Every single time, at some point in the parade, they wrap their arms around each other in the lovey, dovey spell that the parade casts on them.  Aaron and I stand behind them and exchange that look that parents do when they are delighting in their children's delight.

So there's our secret, we have Disney passes.  Since it is a big part of our life right now, we want to be able to share it.  We thought we'd give some context to the pictures, so people don't misunderstand and think we're livin' large here in So Cal.  There are still the three part-time jobs, the one car, the no cable TV or smart phones, the pennies pinched, all sacrifices that are more than worth it to make a dream real.

But here in the midst of the "doing without" there is this crazy extravagant Disney gift we have, the memories we are making, and the bonding that it brings.

To those givers of this gift, you know who you are. We are ever so grateful.


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  2. I think this is awesome! If I lived near Disney I would do the same thing. What a great place for family bonding time. These are precious memories that you will cherish forever.

  3. Enjoy, Daniellle! We have annual passes, too and love the family time. And the lack of pressure. Just because you've chosen a life serving in another country, it doesn't mean you shouldn't do fun things, too. Anyone who says otherwise needs to be slapped. :)

  4. I love that you're doing this! What a fantastic gift those people gave you, and I'm so glad that your children (and you) are getting to create such happy memories in Disneyland.