Her Flashback

October 27, 2011

Last night, I was sitting on my butt writing my Halloween preview post when Mouse came in to the room to show me a You Tube video.

First, a background:

When Mouse turned six, we still lived in Berkeley, CA.  Writer Dude was solidly in our lives, but we weren’t living together. We were getting ready to move back east for law school, etc., and he really wanted to take the girls to Disneyland before we left the west coast.  He grew up in Disneyland’s back yard, and has a huge fondness for the place.  The place, specifically, not all of the Disney paraphernalia that has become so prevalent – especially for young girls –  and which I spent many, many years shielding my daughters from.

He had the bright idea to make the trip a surprise.  FYI, “surprise” isn’t really a word in my vocabulary.  In my world, thoughts = words.  Why would you hold some back?  Surprises = agony (maybe because I’ve really never had a real surprise, so it’s really just been waiting to find out what my gift will be, which isn’t very fun, in my opinion).  It wasn’t easy for me to go along with him, but I knew it would be a priceless experience if we could pull it off, so I did my best.

Finally, after MONTHS of plotting, we picked the girls up from Kindergarten and 2nd grade on a Thursday afternoon to get on the road and drive south.

Because we were going “couch shopping.”  Yes, that was the best we could come up with.  I don’t remember exactly why we settled on that pathetic story, but the girls swallowed it. Our couch (actually a third-hand futon . . . I was a single mom, remember, in one of the most expensive communities on the planet) was on its last legs, and we were getting to move, so I guess they thought it made sense.  We told them there was a big outlet store in southern California, and we wanted to go look for a couch.  They shrugged and got in the car. We drove south, past their bedtime, and carried them into the motel (not an in-park hotel, because again, with the single mom-ness).

The next morning, WD went out and got us all some breakfast and we ate in the room.  Finally, at 9 a.m., we went out and crossed the busy street.  The kids were kind of confused, ‘where’s the store?” and we sat them on a bench and told them “um, look over there . . . ” to the entrance gate to Disneyland.

They were thrilled, over the moon, happy.  And we still, to this day, laugh about the time we went “couch shopping.”  The kids are now old enough to roll their eyes at us (for the silly story), but always with a smile and with appreciation.

We’ve been one other time since then, that time for Lemon’s birthday.  The girls were a little older and got a little more out of the trip.  We were also better off, financially, and were able to stay in a park hotel and have a generally less-stressful time (not that the girls knew about our $$ stress the first time).

Every now and then, someone will bring up a repeat trip.  I will say, “but aren’t you too old now?  don’t you want to go somewhere new?” and Writer Dude will balk and say “you’re never too old for Disneyland!!!” and the girls will say “Yeah!!!”

And last night, Mouse brought me this video:

It was fun to watch, and had me laughing and with tears.  Mouse, too, was teary-eyed.  Ten minutes later, she’d ransacked her room looking for her souvenirs.  Her Disney pins, her now-way-too-small t-shirts, her hooded sweatshirt.

It was really sweet.  Her rifling through her own memories.  It also left WD and I with a huge sense of pride and accomplishment.  Look at what we did!?!   We created a memory for her so when she watched this crazy-happy-overwhelmed 6 year old, she could think “that happened to ME, too!!!”

We did have good trips, both times.  I hope we do get to go back.   Fortunately we also have friends and family in California, so it may not be impossible to plan a visit/Disney trip for some time in 2012.




  1. M showed me the same video a few days ago — his mother surprised him once with a trip to Disneyworld, too. We are pretty anti-Disney, but I think we’ll be surprising Pea one of these years, too.

  2. I cried over that video the first time I saw it. Actually, the only time I saw it because I don’t think I could watch it again.

    We’ve taken the girls to WDW in Orlando but never out to Anaheim. Definitely on our wish list.

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