We just returned from the trip of a lifetime. Not many little ones have the opportunity to experience a family vacation with a set of grandparents AND great-grandparents, but our blessed boy did just that. He spent a week in Orlando, Florida visiting Disney World with his grandma, grandpa, and Oma and Opa (great grandma and grandpa.)
This little guy played hard, was 100% over stimulated, and ate more sugar in a week than he probably has in his entire life. He had a blast exploring new places, riding rides, and enjoying special treats, but those typical Disney World moments aren’t the ones that stand out in my heart. The ones I can’t get out of my head are the sweet moments that reminded me to turn a blind eye at that third helping of ice cream in one day, and instead focus on…
The way he was constantly running ahead of us, but would turn around periodically and say, “Come on Opa!”
When he and I rode high above the ground on a dinosaur ride and he looked over the edge shouting, “Hi Grandma! Hi Oma!” He didn’t see them, but he knew they were there.
That moment when he fell into a solid sleep on his grandpa’s shoulder while we waited for over an hour for a ride. We were all bored and tired, but staring at that sleeping baby all snuggled up to his papa was enough to keep our hearts more than content.
Each morning he would wake up and say, “Lincoln go to grandma and grandpa’s room,” or “Let’s go find Oma and Opa.” They were the first thing on his mind.
It would be easy for me to return from this trip and focus on the sugar highs, lack of naps, sick baby sleeping upstairs or the fact that he is still on East coast time, which means he’s wide-eyed and bushy-tailed at 4:00am. I don’t even feel tempted to be bothered by those things. I am so grateful my little man was able to share this special week of his life with grandparents and great-grandparents who love him so dearly.
I always learn a lot when we travel. About myself, about my parenting style, about traveling with a baby. But I think I learned my most valuable lesson yet on this trip. On this once in a lifetime trip, I learned that nothing is more valuable than the imprint made on our children’s hearts by their grandparents and great grandparents, and that goes both ways. Lincoln may not remember every moment. But I can promise you that his grandparents and great grandparents will remember this special time with Lincoln. They will remember his squeals of joy when he dove into the swimming pool, and the way Oma dove in without hesitation when she thought he was going to jump into the deep end! They’ll remember his face covered in ice-cream as we waited in line, and the way he literally chased cotton candy down the winding paths of Magic Kingdom as his daddy dangled it in front of him. They will remember the way he danced the Polka to a live band, and grabbed a little girl’s hand on the dance floor to get her to join him.
There are so many little, perfect, joyful moments that they will remember. Those moments will overshadow the challenging moments; the ones where my two year old was exhausted, didn’t feel well, or fell and got a goose-egg on his head. And those perfect, joyful moments are well worth letting go of my personal preferences (like omitting sugary drinks and candy and prioritizing naps.) Because the truth is, while the grandparents may do it differently… give extra treats, say no less frequently (or, who are we kidding – never.) and purchase an abundance of souvenirs – they love their grandchildren unconditionally, and they love us unconditionally, too.
What a trip. We are so grateful.