Dearly lovely children,
Summer vacation hasn’t quite started in our home, but I’m already seeing photos of Disney vacations pop up on Instagram and Twitter (those are websites adults use to compare lives). I imagine you’re hearing stories from friends at school about Magic Space Mountain Hill or whatever it’s called, pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head, and being served hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies from Goofy before bed.
I’m sure you’re wondering by now if we’re going to Disneyland or Disney World, and I have bad news. We’re not.
You already know that I love all of you deeply. What you also need to know is that the thought of taking all three of you and the stuff you require to live on a plane to a theme park vacation makes me physically ill. I’m serious. I would rather do a shot of Windex than bunk up with you children, whom I love, in a hotel room. Look at my face. You will find not a trace of jest when I say that I would rather be forced to experience back labor while watching Caillou on a loop than stand in hour-long lines in the sun for 15-minute rides.
Please don’t cry. I’ve given this a lot of thought.
Why would I take any of you to Disneyland when a simple stroll through the cereal aisle is a source of much irritation? I can already hear the “Can I buy that? Can I buy that?” over and over again for items marked up 900 percent and my soul whispers “NO, DISNEY. NO.”
You guys know I’m not against Disney. I shell out $25 a pop for the DVDs and let you watch them ad nauseam. How many times have I played Anna because nobody wanted to be that wench? I even download the songs so you can hear them in the car so don’t you dare say I’m anti-Disney.
I don’t hate fun, either. We go biking. Bake together. Walk to the park. I received a letter from the library letting me know that they’re starting their summer reading program again (stickers!). I know that doesn’t really compare to taking a photo with an 18-year-old actress stuffed into a Simba costume, but I’m doing what I can.
Is it about money? Not really, but at the same time, taking you to Disney would be me paying to be tortured, and I work too hard for that. Do you understand what I’m saying? I would rather experience an unmedicated vaginal birth to triplet full-sized porcupines than have to parent in what I feel like is an Anthropologie for kids; everything is beautiful, everything feels magical, but you leave the place with an overdrawn checking account.
I know you like staying in hotels. We’ve done this before. Remember the road trip to great-grandma’s place? It starts off fun — jumping on beds, happy shrieks — but dissolves into a rank mass of little people off of the schedules they desperately need to not act like coked-out gremlins. Coke like Coca-Cola, babies. Yeah.
The one time I’ve taken your biggest sibling to Disneyland (we lived 30 minutes away at the time), we lasted about two hours. Out of those two hours, I think we spent an hour and a half looking for a bathroom.
What you need to know about mommy is that she’s not really a crowd person. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, I will gladly mill about with thousands of confused, crying families struggling to hold onto their last threads of sanity, but until then, we will avoid those types of situations together.
Summer can still be fun, kids. We’ll go to the pool. Visit friends’ houses. Go camping. I’ll spring for a two-month pass at our local play center if it makes you guys feel better. They’re renovating, you know. I’ll do my best to make pancakes in a special shape. How about a deformed oval? I bet we can make those turkey legs and I’ve seen a recipe for the Dole Ice things. I’ll even burn a stack of money in the backyard to make it more real for me. Will $3,000 be enough? Good.
Some parents will think I’m selfish, or worse, send me lists of “Disney Hacks” for getting in at half price and a map of special discount buffets. Others will feel compelled to tell me about how their trip to Disney Heaven changed their life forever. I know someone out there will say how as hard as it was, they only remember the special moments watching fireworks. Kids, none of this will sway me. We have semi-legal fireworks at home.
Look, if you can find a nice family willing to undergo background checks that wants to take you with them, get their phone number for mommy.
I love you to the moon and back, but not quite to Disney. Now pack your stuff. We’re going to the beach.