For the last fifteen years, my mom has been the primary caregiver to her parents. When my grandfather died earlier this year, my mom mentioned that now she could have time for herself. Now that my mom has “free time” she’s been thinking about taking a vacation.
The last time we vacationed together was in 2009. We drove to Pennsylvania and rented a cabin. We were there because we have family close by and there was a special Thomas the Train event going on. Before that, was in 2007 – we went to New Hampshire for a week.
But I want us to do something different. And I suggested Walt Disney World because every single time I visit, all I can think is: My parents would love this.
When I popped the Disney question, her initial response was, mmmmmhmmmmm. Not really a yes but not really a flat out no. Sensing her hesitation, I broke it down. I have never taken a plane with my parents. My dad hasn’t been on a plane in 50 years. And while my mother went to Puerto Rico 5 years ago, it wasn’t with us. For the first time in more than a decade, my mother can take a vacation worry/guilt free. While I like to think of my parents as ageless, they are not. They have a few more years left before it’s my turn to care for them.
Norrin is their only grandchild. When I see other families – children with parents and grandparents – at Disney, I can’t help but feel envious. That is what I want for Norrin. I want him to have those memories. I want my parents to see Norrin’s smile when he meets Buzz Lightyear or the Little Mermaid. I want to experience my childhood dream of visiting Disney with my parents. Because if there is anyplace that screams family vacation and magical memories – it’s Disney.
(Also – if my parents were with us, they could stay with Norrin while Joseph and I have a Disney date night!)
As I explained all of this to her, I started crying. Disney has a way of doing that to me. Once my mother realized what a Disney family vacation meant to me, she agreed.
But that was months ago. So during our Mother’s Day lunch, I brought it up with both of my parents.
“What would we do at Disney?” they said.
Before I could even respond, my husband, Joseph, jumped in. He started to talk about Frontierland in The Magic Kingdom. That’s the place that reminds me of my dad the most – I rarely want to walk through it because it feels wrong being there without him. My dad grew up watching The Lone Ranger and Rin Tin Tin. My dad loved Rin Tin Tin so much, he named his dog (a German Shepherd, obviously) “Rinny.” I know the moment he sees Frontierland, he’ll want to buy a cowboy hat and never leave.
My dad is also an artist. He draws and paints. He’s never studied, it’s something he taught himself to do. A few years back his glaucoma got so bad, there was a possibility of losing his eyesight. I know this scared him for many reasons, but I think not being able to paint – something he loved to do – really scared him most. I know he would love Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. I can see him sitting poolside, soaking up the sun and sketching.
As a kid my Mom would drag us to every parade in NYC – I hated it. But she loved it and watch wide-eyed. I know that she would love the parade on Main Street U.S.A. The same with the evening fireworks at The Magic Kingdom. Every 4th of July, my mother would take us to see the fireworks and I never had any interest. As I got older – I spent less time with my mom doing these things and she stopped going since she didn’t want to go by herself. I love the fireworks at Disney and I always cry. Because it’s beautiful and because I know my mom will be amazed by it.
My mother has always been up for adventure. She is fearless and loves flying. When she went to Puerto Rico she said, “I loved it. I looked out the window the entire time.” If she had lived another life, I think she would have traveled the world. Showing her around Epcot will be my way of giving her the world.
There is so much I want to show my parents – I want them to see all 4 parks. I know my parents have a DisneySide within and I want to help them discover it. They worked so hard for so many years. They have done so much for me and for my family – especially Norrin. I want to thank them. I want them to have fun and relax. I want to see them laugh. They deserve a little magic in their lives. And I’m determined to make this Disney Familia vacation happen.
Check it out Latinamom.me: How To Travel with Los Abuelos