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Redeeming the First Family Vacation

When Jack was about five months old we went on a little weekend getaway, just the three of us. We drove a few hours out of town to a little lake resort, got ourselves a nice hotel room and proceeded to enjoy...nothing. As my husband likes to put it, we were doing all the things we normally do at home, just without the benefit of home's conveniences.

Our first family trip really was a bummer. It took forever to get Jack to nap, and when we finally had him down, what was there for us to do? We were confined to the hotel room during nap time and our days ended at 7 p.m. when Jack went to bed. We'd also chosen a destination with pretty much nothing to do except walk around and admire the scenery. We drove home, vowing never to try this Family Vacation thing again. Not unless we had grandparents in tow!

But this summer, we were feeling a little ambitious. What if we road tripped? What if we crossed time zones? What if we went ALL BY OURSELVES? After a mind-blowingly successful airplane trip to Vegas to meet up with my husband's side of the family, we made our final decision: we were flying to Disneyland. BECAUSE WE COULD.

And tonight I am writing from my absolutely perfect hotel room after our third day at Disneyland. I'm not sure if it's the fact that our kids are a little older, if we're spending a crazy amount of money, or if it's just impossible to have a rotten time at Disneyland, but THIS family vacation is redefining the standards for Awesome. I was nervous about my kids being too young to enjoy a theme park, if we'd be able to handle them without an eager Grandma standing by, if we'd actually LIKE each other by the end. But we've experienced more of Disneyland than I thought possible with a two- and one-year-old, and each night I write a trillion things down: the glee on their faces during the parades, the hand clapping when we catch sight of Mickey, the fact that "It's a Small World" doesn't bug Phillip and me at all, just because it's so fun to view it through a toddler's eyes.

In a very weird, very eye-rolling way, I feel like I've reached a higher level of Grown Up Status. We up and took our kids to DISNEYLAND for no reason other than the fact that we wanted to go. Plus, we're doing it on our own, without the benefit of aunts and uncles and grandparents, people we've relied on so heavily to get us through things like airport security lines and fussy restaurant dinners. Somehow we're making it work, and there's yet to be any talk of divorce or listing children on eBay. I know! And I know it sounds silly, but I feel so proud of our little family. We can go away, just us, AND have a good time! WHO KNEW?