The wife and I got to do something really cool last week and show our kids another memory of Us. We got to show them how “we” started.
If you have ever been to Disney you know it is a pretty cool place. Obviously it costs a billion dollars, but if you are doing it once or twice in your life hopefully you can remove that from your mind and just enjoy what you get to see. And if you are lucky, you bring the kids at the right age, one where they can do all the rides but are still young enough to not think their parents are total losers and want nothing to do with them. This year for us having kids at 11 and 13 felt right. They fit right into that perfect age for Disney.
I could write a book on how many cool experiences we had there. From my oldest dancing in a Disney Parade to my youngest getting to ride Space Mountain for the first time, there are so many things I can look back on and smile about. Too many memories to put into words, which is such an awesome feeling to have!
My kids are pretty normal kids, of course to me everything they do is special, but for the most part, they are just kids. They see us being parents, they hear us yell at them because their rooms are messy, or see us fight with each other about lots and lots of things. Normal things, money, laundry, or whose turn it is to clean the bathroom. Occasionally they see us give a kiss to each other, but being 11 and 13 they are grossed out by that so probably block that out of their memory. We live very normal lives. My wife works full time, well, she works full time, then works another job, then she comes home and works some more. So, since we have been together for so long, over 20 years, we probably don’t have that same “I can’t wait to see you” smile when we first see each other. We probably think more like “I haven’t seen you in a while, let me tell you all the stuff I need help with” attitude. Which, I actually think is also pretty normal.
My point being, that the kids see us in everyday life. They see all the monotonous, boring stuff we go through. They don’t know our back story. They don’t know all of the things we went through to get to where we are. But, this week in Disney we got to let them in on a little of that, and it was so cool to see.
A new portion of Hollywood Studio’s opened while we were there called Toy Story Land. I’m sure you remember the movie(s). Toy Story came out sometime around when I was 15 or so, then was on DVD around when I was 17. It was a really good movie, very original.
As we are walking around the park the wife says she wants to make sure we go to Toy Story Land. I think nothing of it, just that it is a new park and that the kids might really like it. So we start walking up to it and my wife starts telling a story to the kids about the first time we ever hung around together. About how a group of us were looking to watch a movie together, I mentioned that I had the movie at my house and that my wife offered to drive me there to pick it up. It was really our first chance to talk just one on one in the car on the way there to pick it up. Obviously, things went well, we started dating and the rest is history. But, I will be honest, until my wife started telling the story I had forgot that had even happened.
For the kids it was a way to show them how all of it started, a way to give them a beginning to our story. To show the kids they we were kids like them a long time ago. We weren’t always their parents. For me though, it was that same reminder. Her story brought me right back to that car ride. It put all those years and experiences in the rear view mirror and I swear I was in that car. Just two people who were interested in each other. Just two people… Was a great reminder for me, in the middle of the chaos that is life these days, that WE started this thing together.
While we are in Disney I saw a sign that I have written a few times and I definitely believe to be true. Enjoy the little things because someday you will look back and realize they were the big things. The movie Toy Story is a little thing. At the time it meant very little to our story, our lives, but now it is one of the Big Things, maybe even the biggest, because it was the start.
Life is all about experiences, just as I remember the ride in the car, I will remember being in Disney the day my wife told that story to our kids. Giving them the start and reminding me of how much we have built since that time.
Find your tribe and tell the stories that define you. Tell them often, you never know whose ears might need to hear them.