johnnie and me

I have been feeling a bit melancholy lately. This week, my oldest son will be turning 30. I have no idea where all the time has gone. As I look back on my favorite times when raising my kids, most of my very best memories are from family trips to Walt Disney World.

Every year, it was the thing I looked forward to most. If I wasn’t planning our trip that meant that we were already there, sharing treasured time with my husband and my kids. These were always the best days of my year. It was, in fact, the only time we were ALL away from work, school, baseball, and really every distraction that pulled at our time and made our lives feel frazzled and out of control. This was the time that we could spend just having fun and being together.

As I was looking through old pictures last week to prepare for my son’s surprise party (which was a lot of fun, by the way), I found countless pictures from past Disney trips. After a while, my mind drifted (no surprise) to my clients and to all the parents just starting out taking their kids to Disney. I thought of the lasting memories they will be creating together, just like the ones I so deeply cherish. One thing I can say for sure is that the relationship you build with your child on your vacation is something he or she will remember much more than any rides or characters.

Many times I see Disney in my rearview when I’m watching families with small children in the parks. Sometimes, they’re struggling through meltdowns and sometimes they’re oozing with love as they are all huddled up watching the fireworks. For years, something stopped me from reaching out to people (shyness) but more recently, in my “mission field” I have begun reaching out more and more to parents in the parks. I feel that if God leads me to it, I have to walk through it, so although it is hard for me to approach strangers I will often make myself do it.

It’s become increasingly important to me to reassure them, and those of you reading this, that they are creating little memory stores that will seep out through the years. I want them all to know that the memories they’re creating now will be invaluable in their lives and in the lives of their children as the years go on. Many wonderful, funny and sometimes embarrassing stories from our past Disney trips come up every now and again.

Seeing Disney in my rearview mirror makes me miss those times when my kids were young and I lived a different life. I miss being able to have that special time with them. As our kids have grown into adults, it is more and more common to be missing one child or another during our annual trips as life is different now. I can’t tell you how important it is to make the time count when your children are young and build that relationship while creating memories you will all treasure later. On Thursday, I will be sharing some tips that I think will help every family prepare for a magical Disney trip. I know they have helped me to plan the magic, and continue to do so even now with our new generation of little ones.

All of my family is in love with Walt Disney World. Our vacations together have been priceless to me; I cherish each memory. We travel differently now that Butch and I are Mimi and Pappi. We don’t have as much responsibility when we travel as we don’t have to tend to the little things with the kids (like baths, bedtime, etc.). We mostly get to just provide love, support and try to help make it as fun as possible. We love our kids and our granddaughters and the time we spend together at Disney still make up the best days of my year.

Taking this journey of seeing Disney in my rearview makes me appreciate even more what I am able to do in my life now — helping other families realize their dreams of sharing the magic together. It is such a wonderful gift!

Thank you for reading. I wish you all the happiest of days!

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