have i mentioned we booked a trip to Disney World? well, we did. in September, for five nights. i really, really wanted to take Matthew there. partly because he already loves Mickey Mouse; partly because Michael and i took our first vacation together to Disney World and it seemed fitting we take our first family vacation there; and partly because i’m wildly impatient and have waited enough years already to take my kid to Disney World—i’m not waiting until he’s, like, five. please.
anyway, as a former Disney cast member (‘former’ sounds so much better than ‘terminated’) i’m well-versed and steeped in the corporate philosophy—everything is magic this, magic that. for example: on Saturday night Michael and i were finalizing our dinner reservations for while we’re there and called the Disney Dining hotline to ask a few questions. the word “magical” was used about 12 times by the customer service associate on the other end of the line.
don’t get me wrong—i love it. and i’m fully expecting to have countless ‘magical’ moments when we’re there with Matthew. (and countless meltdown moments, too, but i’m choosing to focus on the positive.) and maybe it’s because i’ve been reading the Disney-with-kids guidebook and we’ve been talking so much about our plans, but i’ve been noticing more ‘magic’ moments in our regular life, too.
like last Thursday evening, when we had our first family picnic night of the summer. the idea—of having dinner once a week at one of the Hudson River-facing parks near our condo—came to me a couple weeks ago, when Michael and Matthew met me at the PATH station after work. Michael got on the PATH to go watch a hockey game with some friends in the city and Matty and i took the scenic route home, stopping to play at a park. it was a lovely time of day to be there and it got me thinking about the nights my parents would ‘order in’ dinner at the town pool. my mom and i would usually spend most of the day there in the summer, and on certain nights—the best nights—my dad would meet us there and bring a pizza from Garibaldi’s with him. i don’t know why i thought that was the coolest thing in the world, but i did.
anyway. so last Thursday was our inaugural family picnic night. Michael whipped up a great pasta salad and packed it up along with some watermelon, Matty’s sippy cup and a blanket. i met them at the park and while the actual eating-on-the-grass part was trickier than i anticipated with an active one-year-old (rookie mom strikes again), the whole evening was pretty awesome. among the highlights: Matthew toddling behind his little walker-toy along the park pathways, stopping to wave at every single person who passed and refusing to continue on until said person responded. he wants to know, interact with and smile at everyone, like a little mayor. (and a lot like his dad.)
later, when the park closed, we walked on—even though it was approaching Matty’s bedtime—and found an ice cream truck, where we indulged in some soft serve (Matty’s first taste—he approved). the night air was so lovely, we kept strolling until we came upon the Hoboken Little League field, where a game was just getting started. we parked the stroller and watched a rather intense inning of baseball (nine to 12-year olds).
though i was paying attention to what was happening on the field (poor little pitcher named Chris was getting lit up after whiffing the first two batters), somewhere in my mind i was thinking that i was pretty sure i’d imagined this sometime in the past—watching a random Little League game with my family on a warm, summer(ish) night, the lights of Manhattan winking in the distance… even if i hadn’t imagined it exactly, i couldn’t have written it more perfectly.
my feelings on Saturday were similar. Saturday is, for the record, my favorite day of the week. it’s the only one we can spend in entirety as a family. so, really, i live for Saturdays. this past one we took Matthew to Turtleback Zoo. it was a really great day. and not because anything crazy-exciting happened. just because we were together. i think it was while were watching the white-faced gibbons (a kind of ape) swinging and singing—actually that was crazy-exciting—that i realized how utterly complete i feel these days. is that weird? it had nothing to do with the apes, per se; it was just nice to stand there as a family watching these creatures do their thing. we weren’t in a rush anywhere, we weren’t stressed or worried about anything. we didn’t have anywhere else to be. we were just together and happy.
like i said: magic.