Ten years ago this week, my then three-year old son and I visited Disneyland for the first time. When I say the first time, I am not just referring to his first visit…I am also referring to my first. It was the beginning of a beautiful love affair. We went back to Disneyland this past weekend, to celebrate his achievements in school this past year, and commemorate Our Ten Years With Disneyland.
What a difference ten years makes.
It was cold our first visit. Little Man was still in pull-ups. He still called me Momma. He was so tiny. I remember walking through Mickey’s Toon Town, Little Man bundled in blankets, but so excited to see Mickey. He was only three, and was on a special mission that trip-he’d finally decided to give up his beloved “binky” (pacifier) and was giving it to Mickey Mouse for safekeeping. (He found another binkie when we got home, but that’s another story.) Little Man could not go on too many of the rides that first visit, but loved watching the parades, fireworks, and all the characters.
Since then, we have been to Disneyland many times, too many times to count. Ten years of Autopia drivers licenses. Ten years of birthday buttons, and flower leis from the (now defunct) Lilo and Stitch breakfast. Ten years of churros, pineapple whips, and Bengel BBQ. Ten years of smiles…many, many smiles. Ten years of memories.
Ten years of life, we’ve been though together. Three moves. Six Schools. Kindergarten through Middle School. Saying hello to new friends, and goodbye to old. Happy times and sad. Good days and bad. Always, Disneyland was there for us, a welcome refuge from a sometimes frustrating life, reminding us what was important–precious time together with family and friends.
We spent Little Man’s 10th birthday at Disneyland-a slumber party at The Disneyland Hotel, with six of his closest friends-two days in Disneyland and California Adventure. Memories of a lifetime.
We’ve brought his best friend (in the whole world) to Disneyland for her birthday, each year for the past five years. A loving tradition we look forward to every year.
We spent my 40th at Disneyland. Best. Birthday. Ever. I even got a princess crown.
Lilo and Stitch. Mickey Mouse. Woody and Buzz. Cars. Flik and Manny. Pirates of the Caribbean, and Tron. Disney characters, all there as my son grew-a beloved part of our memories.
Yesterday, my 13 year old son held my hand in his, and walked with me to Mickey’s Toon Town, for old times sake. We talked about taking his children to Disneyland someday, and how Grandma (me) would take his kids to see Mickey.
Happiest place on earth? Absolutely.