I visited Disneyland with my mom around age 10. I still remember the thrill of the rides (Star Tours! Thunder Mountain!) and the magic of Disney. I'll never forget how lucky I felt to have my mom all to myself for several days.
Today as a mom of three, I see how unbelievably hard it is to spend solo time with each kid and still manage to keep my house running (and my sanity) and get work done. It's been a long winter and I've been desperate for sunshine. My dearest friend lives in Los Angeles with her husband and adorable 2 year old, who I hadn't seen since she was a tiny infant. It seemed like a perfect time to get out of town and into the sunshine for a long weekend. I booked the trip with my eldest daughter, soon to be 8, and hoped that this could be the beginning of many wonderful adventures as a twosome. My husband looked forward to adventures of his own at home with our two younger kids.
The trip was all I hoped for and more! We got terrific weather in LA. My daughter was blown away by the fact that winter doesn't have to be cold. She was drinking in the sunshine like a thirsty desert traveler. I surprised her with a trip to Disneyland - and frankly it was a huge eye opener for me. Sure, there are long lines for the rides but it was a phenomenal opportunity to connect. All that waiting and standing around created time for conversations. We're usually so busy being busy; This was exactly what we needed. As an aside, I was happy to see that alongside the cotton candy and churros, there were lots of fresh fruit stands.
It was a jam-packed weekend! Day two was spent at a wonderful farmer's market in Torrance (where I could have spent hours) followed by an afternoon at the Long Beach Aquarium. See those strawberries? We powered through a box of that deliciousness in no time. We discovered cacao pods, luscious looking chard, juicy oranges, buttery avocados, amazingly fresh everything. I love being able to show my kids where their food comes from.
We blinked and the weekend was over. But we came back east with smiles on our faces and serious excitement for spring.
Dear California sunshine: thank you very much!