Magical Roadtrip

            Roadtrip!!  I don’t think there is a word in our car-centric society that evokes more nostalgia than this one.  We all have memories or great stories about roadtrips with our families in our youth or in our early adult lives when we set out with friends for a grand adventure.  Last week when our little family set out on a roadtrip toDisneylandI was struck by how much the roadtrips of my youth differed from today’s jaunts with my family.  First off, there was the matter of seatbelts, or lack of, in my younger days.  We had a station wagon and all four of us kids just piled in the back and claimed our corners and we bounced around back there with our toys and played games like “I Spy”, and something else we made up that had to do with naming the colors of cars that we passed.  There was a lot of laughing and just a few arguments that generally had to do with someone invading someone else’s “space”. 

 Fast forward to last week’s trip…we are a 21st century, seat belts locked, techno-geared up family.  Ginger, the youngest, has her own DVD player, I have my Kindle and my husband, Gordy has his I-phone for checking texts and e-mail during pit stops.  (We stick to our no calls or texts while driving rule, especially since we have a teenager who will soon have a license of his own.)  And speaking of the teenager, Shaun, wins the plugged-in award simultaneously playing games on his laptop, listening to music on his i-pod and keeping up with his texting.  I like to think of it as multi-tasking training for the future.  Just as I was having a wince of nostalgia for a quick game of “I Spy”, I thought of my mom and you know, as resistant as she was to technology, I think she would have preferred today’s set-up to the raucous rides of my childhood. 

             Now on to destination Disneyland!  Personally, I have mixed feelings about Disneyland.  I am not by nature an amusement park person.  I don’t really care for a lot of the rides, mostly because I get dizzy easily and am a big wimp!  I have no patience for crowds or waiting in line, both of which are a given just about any day at Disneyland.  However, there is a charm and dare I say it a certain “magic” about Disneyland that sets it apart from other amusement parks and I can not resist taking my kids there.   It is amazing when you think about the imagination, planning and technology that went into designing the park.  And that I think is the key to what keeps bringing me back.  There is a sense of wonder, of “how did they think of that?”  This particular trip the crowds seemed a little less than normal and the lines shorter, which meant time too get in more rides and for the first time we even stayed late for the fireworks, which was well worth the wait and the tired feet!  And good enough to impress a 14 year-old boy, which isn’t easy!  All in all it was a good trip and yes, I will go back, but not for at least another couple years.

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A Day of Nothing

            One of my daughter’s favorite books right now is called “Nothing To Do” by Douglas Wood.   In it, a young boy revels in the possibilities life offers when there is a day when nothing is on the calendar.  A world of free time, play and exploration awaits him.  Children, no doubt, are wired to experience the world in this way, but as adults, are lives are so busy and hectic that sometimes we need to be reminded to slow down, be in the moment and just enjoy life.  Reading this book made me wistful for one of those days.  Imagine, nothing on the calendar, no grocery shopping or laundry, no kid shuttling, no must get this done today or the world will fall apart feelings.

 

            Then, the unimaginable happened!  I turned the page on my planner and there it was, a Monday with nothing on the calendar!  And to sweeten the deal, it was my birthday.  What better excuse to have a day of nothing, than your birthday.  My husband had made coffee already, the kids were on the good behavior program and I got to enjoy the newspaper relatively uninterrupted.  Then, with no agenda looming, it was off to thelandofBarbie’s with my daughter.  As the sun got higher in the sky, the thought of an adventure took hold and we (my husband, 3 year old daughter and I) piled in the car and headed toward the beach.  Once we were on our way, I discovered I had left my watch at home and that my phone battery had died.  What better way to stay in the moment than to let go of time!  A picnic sounded nice but, as is common this time of year, the beach was overcast and a bit cool, so we opted for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants right on the beach.  By the time we finished lunch it was warmer and some joyous time was spent running up and down the beach, creating avalanches in the sand and poking at seaweed. 

 

            Back at home, I enjoyed a little siesta, possibly brought on by all that fresh sea air, but more likely due to the glass of wine I partook at lunch.  While I enjoyed my peaceful respite, my husband, with a little help from the teenager and toddler, prepared a wonderful dinner complete with brownies for dessert.  With only a quick check for Facebook birthday messages and e-cards, I didn’t linger on-line that evening, but rather read books, had conversations and didn’t even look to see what was on tomorrow’s calendar.  Some people would call it a mental health day, but I prefer to call it “a day of nothing”.  With school out for the summer, I am looking forward to more days of nothing!  Try it yourself and see what adventures evolve.