You’d think I’d have been chomping at the bit to leave on our summer vacation. Yet there I was, driving down I-5, doing my best to psych up to the days ahead.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Disneyland. I kneeled there on the castle drawbridge, proposing marriage to the love of my life. We’ve even gone back a few times since then with extended family. We’ve picked our favorite restaurants, discovered the best snack shacks, and mastered the FastPass system. I could probably deliver the Jungle Cruise spiel myself. This trip, however, would be the first where all five of us Oswalds would visit the place together.
Oh, and we’d also visit Knott’s Berry Farm, California Adventure, and Medieval Times while we were at it. This was to be a summer vacation filled to the brim with amusement.
Perhaps I woke up too early that first day. Or perhaps my inner Scrooge was lamenting the cost of travel. Or maybe that Jim Gaffigan Disney routine echoed in my mind. I was feeling anxious about our family vacation, and trying to imagine how we would corral my rambunctious boys during long hours under the Southern California sun. My worries had sapped my joy from me.
But then a funny thing happened as we drove past the valley town of Lathrop. My daughter asked if we could listen to a present-day Transformers cartoon theme song on my phone (one of her favorite shows). We did it, all while singing along. Then I told her about the Transformers cartoon “from back in my day” and played the kids the hilariously terrible theme song. They laughed and laughed, and I nearly drove off the road in laughter myself. Then I played the remix of that same song by one of my favorite bands…
That (death-defying) laughter-filled turn of events was a gift. I get the sense that God was trying to remind me that while my kids are often crazy, they are full of contagious joy that they are willing to share. They remind me that I can never really know what is coming around the corner. I learned all over again that our time could be filled with joy, if only I might go with the flow of trying to control them.
This trip could be one of eager anticipation, or bracing for impact. I chose the former.
Take a look at a few of my favorite images and memories from our summer vacation below:
We didn’t lose any children. The children didn’t lose any limbs. I didn’t lose my sanity. We may have lost a few pounds from all that walking, come to think of it. In other words, our summer vacation was a resounding success. And as I look back on these photos now, I see that even looking through the camera, it was the people far more than the places that brought so much joy.
I think I’m ready for our next summer vacation. Right now.
Have you ever taken a vacation that you had to psych up for? Sound off in the comments below!