Lori Tessel shares how a vacation does not have to be to a destination far away to be memorable and important. Traveling with your family and creating precious memories is what children will remember. Inspire your child, inspire yourself, go somewhere that feeds your passions!
This weekend, my husband and I took our kids to Carlsbad, California for a very brief, yet impactful vacation. We promised our son that we would take him to LEGOLAND for his 6th birthday. Since his birthday was about a month ago, we spent the past few weeks counting down to the big day. The special draw to LEGOLAND was the “Star Wars” attraction and my son is deeply consumed by all that is “Star Wars,” especially Legos. We drove down on Friday night, checking into a hotel nearby so that we could wake up early to arrive when the park opened.
The morning arrives and as we walk up to the gates, my son reminds me that we need to go straight to the “Star Wars” exhibit. Enjoying his excitement, I assure him that it is our first stop.
We search the map and head quickly to the area. My husband and daughter stop to go on a ride and my son and I continue on our mission. We get our first hint that we are close when we see MiniLand, the area of the park with all the mini cities like Washington, DC and New York. And then my son sees it — a larger than life Death Maul made of Legos right in front of the mini store that sells all the Star Wars Legos. I look ahead and see our goal. I take him by the hand and lead him away from the mini gift shop.
Pure, sincere to the bone joy hits my son like a waterfall. His little 6-year-old emotions are in overload as he jumps from one installation to the next. And I admit that even I was impressed with the amount of detail and the visual representation of some of the films’ moments.
My son leaned over to me and said, “Mommy, I think I am going to cry.” Worried for a moment, I kneeled down to look at his face. I then realized that he was joyous. I hugged him and asked, “Because it is so beautiful?” And he said, “Yes.”
That was the first great moment of the day. Next one came later in the afternoon just before the park closed. As we made our way around the park, we finally came to the rollercoaster in the Dino Island area. My son, never having been on a rollercoaster, was not quite sure what to expect. We waited patiently in the 30 minute line inching slowly to the front. As luck would have it, as we got closer, we were first in line for the next group. My son, excited for this new adventure, wanted to sit in the front row. And so he did.
My husband and son in the first row and then my daughter and I sat behind them. Honestly, I am not even sure that the ride is longer than two minutes, but it was the most fun and exciting two minutes for my son. When it came to a stop, my son was beaming, his eyes exploding with excitement, his cheeks all puffed up from the biggest smile on his little face. He jumped out of the car bursting with pride that he had just rode his first rollercoaster.
We left shortly after feeling fulfilled and tired. Following dinner, we went straight to the hotel, both kids falling asleep with ease. And now we are home. We were away for approximately 36 hours and it was more than a birthday gift to my son, it was a gift to us all.