We spent four wonderful days in Disney World this past winter.
It was the perfect time to go: the weather was pleasant, the crowds were low, and getting a break from the ice storms and heavy snowfall our home state was experiencing made this trip even more magical than expected.
We were able to ride our favorite rides many times. We got to try out some new treats that we’d not made time for in the past. And everyone came home refreshed and ready to finish out the school year.
Dude 2 and I had the opportunity to make this wonderful video about our experience together…
In spite of (or maybe, because of?) our noticeable awkwardness, I know I will cherish it forever and ever.
The only missing part to that winter excursion was DudeDad. He wasn’t able to attend so The Dudes and I did Disney on our own.
He pouted about it for weeks!
But thanks to the wonderful people at Disney, he’s going to get his chance to experience the magic because he will be accompanying me back to the happiest place on earth next week for the Disney Social Media Moms Conference.
When I received the invitation to attend the conference, I nearly turned my chair over twerking in joy. This is the first invite to the prestigious event I’ve ever received, and being able to partake in this experience and learn elements of the digital media industry from the people who market and build community for the Disney brand is just such an amazing opportunity. Of course I was overjoyed to be given the chance. But there’s a bittersweet element to it to.
Unfortunately, I won’t be taking all of my boys with me.
With school and sports and so many other things we just can’t all go back again (we were there less than 2 months ago) right now. I’m only taking Dude 3 (he has this anxiety thing that just makes leaving him harder than it’s worth) and DudeDad with me this time. Dude 2 and Dude 1 are staying home with Mimi!
I didn’t immediately decide leaving them was the answer. I went back and forth over the schedule, the logistics, the finances, and everything for days before I decided it just couldn’t work. And then, once the decision had been made, I still kicked it around in my mind where it weighed heavily on my conscious for days.
I don’t want to go to the happiest place on earth without all of my kids. I don’t want to be separated from them for 5 days. I don’t want them to hate me for taking their little brother and leaving them behind. I don’t want to make hard mom choices like a stupid old grown up lady. I want to eat cookies for breakfast and sleep until noon!
Eventually I decided it was best to rip off the Bandaid and tell them truth. That way I’d have time to work through their sadness and my shame before boarding the plane to my happy place.
I decided to break the news to them on neutral ground: Mimi’s house.
I sat them down, heart pounding out of my chest, and said…
Me: Dudes (yes, I really call them that), Mom has some bad news for you. Before I tell you, I just want to say I’m sorry and I love you, all of you, so, so much, I just couldn’t make this happen and I’m so sorry and please don’t hate me oh my gosh okay I’m just going to say it I’mgoingtoDisneywithyourdadandyourlittlebrotherandI’mnottakingyou. Okay. There. I said it.
Dude 1: Wait, what?
Dude 2: She said she’s going to Disney with Dad and this guy and she’s not taking us.
Dude 3: HOOOORAY! DISNEY!
Me: hangs head in shame… I’m sorry guys. I really wanted to, but we just got back like a week ago and you can’t miss more school and all of these games and the money and I’m sorry. *tears start to fall*
Dude 2: It’s cool, Mom. Don’t be sad. We get it. We aren’t mad at you.
Dude 1: Yeah, I need to be in school. I can’t really miss another week. It’s fine. We had fun there already. It’s not a big deal.
Me: Buuuuuuut, I’m taking your brother. Aren’t you mad?
Dude 2: Well, yeah, you have to. We know how he is.
Dude 1: Yeah, we know about his thing. You can’t leave him here. He’d be so hard for Mimi and he’d be sad and scared and you probably would be too over there in Florida.
Me: Oh my gosh you guys. You’re like the best kids ever. I’m not kidding. You’re amazing. Just like so freaking amazing.
And then I cried my face swollen over the fact that I get to be the mom to these amazingly empathetic, entirely awesome, ridiculously handsome human beings. Like what did I even do to deserve to have these people in my life?!
There was no screaming or crying or pouting or shouting. Even now, a week away from our departure day, and the only thing I hear is how much they will miss me. (And if I can tell Mimi they are allowed to play video games during the week JUST THIS ONE TIME.)
I wish I could sit here and tell you that I am a mom boss to have figured out the how grow kids who aren’t entitled and greedy and materialistic and selfish formula. Only there’s not a step-by-step guide. I just know it can be done.
Even though I served them hot dogs for breakfast (fried with eggs, I’m not a total monster), and haven’t folded socks in six years, and only cleaned the bathroom this week because jeeeeez they keep bringing it up, I’m doing something right. Maybe not everything, heck, maybe not most things.
Sometimes I question my parenting choices (should I have left the traditional work force? Should I have had three kids instead of just two? Should we have sent them to private school? Should I feel more guilty that I can’t give them more things?!), I worry about what other people say we should do and be, and I let those expectations and judgments color my perception of our lives. As much as I say I do what I wanna, there are days when I wonder if I should be doing what someone else wants me to.
Fortunately, the people who matter the most are also the ones that remind me of the only thing that matters: I’m not perfect, they’re not perfect, but together it looks like we’re going to be pretty okay.