Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Break: Days of Magic and Misery!

How can eight days be more different? I have never had a vacation that contained days of such polar opposites!

The first half, affectionately known as the Days of Magic:

Max loved the rides.  His favorite was the two Toy Story rides.  Caroline loved everything, but lunch with the Princesses was top on her list along with face painting.

We arrived in LA fresh and ready.  Caroline was recovering from a bad cold, but she was ready for Mickey Mouse.  The flight was not only on time, but it was early landing in LA! We went to get our bags and realized we only had claim tickets for 3 of the 4 bags.  The missing ticket went with a bag we could not locate.  We turn around and there it is, just sitting there.  Wow. 

Next we headed off to the resort.  As our lives have changed over the past years, so has our take on travel.  I used to find the cheapest way possible to do everything.  This saved us money, but it often compromised the experience with extra hassle, loss of time etc.  Now if we do something, we do it right, as much as our check book can handle it.  With this in mind we selected a hotel on the Disneyland property, the one closest to everything, with its own entrance into California Adventure.  Truly the BEST money ever spent.  The Grand Californian was like a work of art!  With in minutes of being there I was photographing the building, I was very impressed.  You are treated like royalty at Disney and this hotel was no exception.  They take care of everything.  Our room was so lovely and it even had a set of bunk beds.  The bunk beds were a source of constant delight for the kids.  The room over looked the California Adventure park.  It was wonderful to sit on our balcony watching the park before and after hours.  The sound proofing was incredible.  When we shut the door all the noise from the park disappeared.

Ray and I were married in Disney World nine years ago in June.  Disney holds a VERY special place in our hearts and despite crowds and the mayhem that can accompany fun with thousands of others, it was magical.  You have to know when to go places and when to stay in your lovely hotel or play in its amazing pool.  We had a few bumps in our plans, but all minor and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.  The kids had similar but varying reactions.  Caroline loved every single second, every nano second and repeatedly told us so.  Max enjoyed the first 60% quite a bit and then hit a sensory overload wall.  We had to pick rides according to his mood after that.  Rides like Its A Small World, or the Canal Boats were perfect to mellow him out. 

All in all, the vacation of our dreams. 

Max will allow his picture to be taken ONLY with characters with real faces.  Sorry Mickey!

The second half, affectionately known as the Days of Misery:

After three and a half wonderful days at Disneyland we headed south to San Diego to visit Ray's parents.  Ray's father was in the hospital and we were anxious to get to him.  It was very emotional to see someone we love so very sick.  We then spent time with Ray's mother who was not herself and very drained by the in and out hospital stays his father has been having.  Sadly we soon discovered it was not just stress, but a violent stomach flu, that plagued her as well.  Ray took her to the hospital and spent most of one day there with her in the ER.  Both his parents, same hospital, different floors, what a day.  The next day both of his parents were thankfully back in their home.  I was drained, it had been a long trip....but it turned out I was not only drained, I had picked up the stomach flu as well.  The night before we left for home I spent 12 hours very very ill.  I was so ill that I passed out, I came to in Ray's arms as he lowered me to the hotel room floor.

Was another ER trip in our future?  Would we get home?  Misery!  I was so worried.  What if the kids got sick, what if we couldn't fly, what if Ray's Dad got this bug, just a day home from the hospital?

Thankfully we made it back up to LA and to the airport.  I had to stop and sit down three times just to get to the gate.  I seriously contemplated making Max vacate his stroller.  I sat on the plane willing myself not to get sick. I was having flash backs to an ill fated Pam Am flight in the early 80s from DC to London, a very long flight, a very ill child.  I remembered getting off the plane wearing only an airline blanket, my clothes and carry on forever destroyed.   

We are all home and safe now.  The kids show no signs of getting sick, but Ray has a thick head cold.  I am still on a diet of crackers and water, but the worst has passed.  What a trip, what a strange wonderful horrible trip!

As we sat in the airport waiting for our flight yesterday, I reflected on the misery of the past few days and the journey still ahead of us.  I thought about the Waiting Room.  How could I turn this time into a Living Room?  I came to an important realization.  As much as that is always a worthy goal and something our family will always try to do....sometimes you can't.  Sometimes life is just very hard and your goal is literally surviving it.  Yesterday was a day of survival and that alone.  However, with in that we were all gentle with each other.  The kids were sweet to me and kept asking if I was ok.  Ray did everything in his power to help me and to ease my discomfort.  I was too sick to even whine, and I tried my utmost not to snap or grumble at them.  So at least there was that,  we were nice as we survived.

I am glad Spring Break is over....magic and misery, I trip I will never forget.


  1. Now that is a trip. Get better.

  2. Well, there really does seem to be opposition in all things, even Disneyland trips. I'm so glad you are all home safe and sound and on the mend. Ray, your dad and mom are in our thoughts and prayers. Rebecca, keep getting better. You are one of the best and bravest survivors I know! :)