Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The End of an Era

This is the house I grew up in. This is where my Dad still lives, for now. We have just put it on the market, which I am totally fine with. Or was, until I drove by and saw the "For Sale" sign in the front yard. I actually broke down and cried, almost having to pull over because I couldn't see through my tears. Seeing that sign meant the end of an era in my life - this house represents so much of me, the me that made me who I am today. It is the place where I was born, the place I laughed in, loved in, fought in, cried in, puked in, played in, swam in the pool, sang in, opened birthday and Christmas gifts in, posed for countless pictures in, healed a broken heart in, enjoyed family get togethers in, I could go on for hours....

I am usually the strong one in my family, out of the girls anyway. I try to use logic over emotion whenever possible. I think I must have learned that from my husband, because I used to be more emotional than I am now. So I was surprised by my immediate reaction to seeing the For Sale sign.

Last week we had to finish cleaning out the house so it could be shown, and I found my dolls that I used to play with. I couldn't bring myself to throw them away, even though they look like they were in a dirty basement for 25+ years (they were technically on the front porch in a rubbermaid bucket, but the result was the same!). Seeing those dolls, remembering the hours and hours I played with them in that house, brought on such a strong feeling of nostalgia, making me wish that life was still as simple as it was for me when I was living there, playing with my dolls, eating dinner at 5:10 p.m. (on the dot, after Dad got home from work) sitting across from my sisters and brother and Mom and Dad. I knew I was loved, protected and safe. There were no bills to worry about paying, no sick parents to worry about, etc. It brought about the realization that I am officially a "grown up", with my own house, my own family, creating new memories for my son. I am still loved, protected and safe, and my husband is the one who worries about paying the bills, but it's just different.

It's a hard thing to face - I still want to be the little sister who everyone watches opening up Christmas presents, and I want to be that little girl who used to climb up on my Dad's lap and hear him tell everyone that I'm his "baby". I am still the baby of the family and that will never change, but my role has changed significantly. And that is because of the years I spent growing, learning and watching my family as we lived together in this house, our home. But the one realization that is most important is that it was not the house that made me who I am, but those who lived in the house with me. I am who I am, because of them.

So, pray for a quick sale...and most of all have a wonderful, Happy Thanksgiving. I know I have a lot to be thankful for.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

We're Off To See The....Mouse!

No wizards for us - we're Mouse fans!

Tomorrow we are headed to Florida for the family trip with Hubby's side. This is an Anniversary celebration trip for Hubby's parents who were married 40 years in June. We didn't go in June because it would've been too hot for my in-law's. Or rather, too hot for me!!! I hate the heat, so why would I leave New England to go to Florida where it's even HOTTER??? 13 of the 15 immediate family are traveling together, so this should be interesting!

This will be Pal's 5th trip to WDW (I know, spoiled brat!). I lost count of how many times I've been there...I know it's over 10 at this point, and that's only since 1990.

My first trip was with my brother and his (then girlfriend) wife, and my (at the time) boyfriend. It was a great time because I was experiencing Disney for the first time, but I should've left the at-the-time-boyfriend at home!!!

After that trip I broke up with the boyfriend. On my husband's birthday. Ironic?

I continued my newfound obsession with Disney by going with my new boyfriend, now Hubby, along with his sister and her (then) boyfriend, now husband. Hubby and bro-in-law would drive his Grandparent's car down to Florida for them so they could fly down, and then his sister and I would fly down with them and we would take our vacation from there. A couple of times we went to Disney, but a couple of other times we went on a cruise and to Marco Island. Those were the greatest times - no kids, no marriage, no worries! Hubby and I refer to those times as "Glory Days".

I also went in 1997 with Hubby's sister, and we rented a convertible sports car! We thought we were hot sh*t!!! We did everything from Busch Gardens to Disney to visiting the Grandparents and some other retired people we knew down there. It was an awesome trip.

Today marks the 10 year Anniversary of my Disney trip with my siblings. We went for 5 days and had a lot of laughs (and a few fights). We still giggle every time we mention certain things about our trip like "Who's that lady?"; "Disney is obsessed with water!!!"; "our brother's clipboard"; "I don't have a mug. Still."

We started taking Pal when he was 2. It was right after 9/11 so there were no crowds. He was in awe of all the activity and we loved watching him. He loved the Playhouse Disney show, until Winnie the Pooh and Friends came on...he turned to me with his nose all scrunched up and said "Can I play with my trucks now?"!!! Too funny, he never did like Pooh. Poor Pooh.

We went back with Pal when he was 4, with my in-law's. They had taken the other 2 grandsons when they were each 4, but we weren't comfortable with them taking Pal by themselves...he would be too much for them to handle. Well, that turned out to be the best decision we ever made, because Papa had a heart-attack about 2 hours after we landed. Luckily, we were with Hubby's cousin who lives down there (and happens to work for Disney!), so she knew the closest hospital and we got him there within minutes of the first chest pains. Thank God he was okay, it was so scary. Papa never did make it to any of the Parks. Then, in the same trip, Pal got bronchitis and we spent 7 hours at the ER with him, and I came down with the stomach bug and missed an entire day at the parks. I was too busy "riding the porcelain bus". Sorry, there's the poop talk again.....

After the previous trip from hell, and after Papa recovered nicely from his heart attack, we decided to give it a go one more time. This time we invited my oldest sister who loves Disney, and hadn't been since our siblings trip in '98. So, it was Hubby, Pal and I, my sister and my in-law's. We had a fabulous time, and Papa even surprised my sister by telling the waitress at "Whispering Canyon Cafe" (an oxymoron) that it was her birthday - they put a brown paper bag over her head because she was so mortified, and the entire restaurant sang Happy Birthday to her!! We laughed so hard because she was so embarrassed. Good times.

And then last year, Hubby kept bugging me to take Pal again, and I kept saying no...until I caved of course. So in 5 weeks time we booked, planned and executed our 4th trip without Pal knowing...We showed up at his school on the last day, dismissed him early and drove straight to the airport - he had NO idea before hand! The look of shock on his face was priceless - it was an awesome moment.

So now here we are at Pal's 5th trip to Disney. He will have his 4 cousins from Hubby's side to play with: 2 older and 2 younger. I'm sure we will take lots of pictures of all 5 boys and I will post one when I get back. My in-law's are excited to travel with (most of) their family. Now all I have to do is survive (most of) their family!!!! Just kidding. Really.

I'll say hi to Mickey Mouse and friends for you all!