If you are a parent to children under the age of five, I think I might have some encouraging words for you. I say “might” because my own kids are 4 and almost 2 so it’s not like I am even on the other side or “through it all” but I am here with you and learning, so why not be encouraged?
We had an amazing trip to Florida last week filled with more magic than you can possibly imagine. Some of the magic was provided directly to us from Disney itself during the conference, some of it was in seeing lifelong friends, while still some of it was in small moments like meeting a couple on the monorail.
On our last full day of vacation we left the Magic Kingdom around 4pm to head over to Epcot for our special dinner and fireworks. During our ride, we began to chat with a couple who were wearing 25th Wedding Anniversary buttons. Sidenote: Did you know that if you are celebrating at Disney World they have a button for that? Anything from first visits to anniversaries to birthdays, Disney wants to help you celebrate! When people see your button, they wish you well. It’s very cool.
So we were chatting with these folks and they said it was their last ride on the monorail before they head back north to New Jersey. They were wrapping up an amazing two week vacation to celebrate their anniversary and as we talked I just couldn’t get over how unbelievably cool it was that they chose to celebrate this monumental occasion at Disney World.
To me, Disney has always been about childhood. I spent much of my childhood in various Disney parks and I hope to continue to bring our own children again and again as we are able. Last year, Jerry and I talked about how fun it would be to go on our own but in reality it may not happen any time soon. And that is ok. Part of the Disney magic is allowing you to be a child at heart, no matter what your age when you visit.
What struck me after the initial coolness of spending your anniversary at Disney is the fact that this couple has been married for 25 years. I love meeting couples whose relationships stand the test of time. Thankfully, I have a few real-life examples of marital success, but there is something about meeting random strangers that says, yes people really do this. They stay together and they work hard and they live happily ever after.
When you are in the middle of raising young children, the happily ever after part can get sort of swept under the rug. It’s not that you don’t love each other or value the vows and commitments you made on your wedding day. It’s not that at all. It’s just that some days you can’t see the forest for the trees. Everyone is in survival mode and very tired. We focus on the happy moments and good memories and try to get through the hard things like cleaning up spilled food (again), taking care of the yard, making decisions, and paying the bills. And while I don’t know anything about that couple other than it was their 25th anniversary, I do know that no one has it easy. And I know that the uphill times are definitely worth the trouble.
As I sat in church this morning (and yes I’ll admit I was daydreaming a little), I looked up at my husband playing in the band and thought about our 6th anniversary this summer, how we are just over 1/5 of the way to 25 and how worth it our marriage is. How these boys we are raising is our greatest challenge, but also our greatest accomplishment, and how I value the hard times, even if I don’t always see the joy.
Sometimes I feel like Oscar in the car on our 12 hour drive from NC to Florida saying, are we there yet? Are we there YET? NOW ARE WE THERE? And then I am reminded that this is going to be a long trip, but not to worry. It will all be worth it.