When deliberating where to go for our last hurrah vacation as a family of four, we were able to narrow it down to L.A. vs. Orlando. Thankfully, we didn’t have too many options to cull through as our passports have not been renewed and other Florida spots were known for Zika outbreaks. As much as we would have loved to go back to my hometown, we opted for Orlando as Escaping the Cold and Relaxation were our #1 priorities.
You know how we all say, “Where has the time gone!?”? I can recall a few moments from this delightful break where I actually could pinpoint my kids growing up before my very eyes.
As much as our Wild Florida Airboat ride, Gator and Wildlife Park, Legoland, Crayola Experience, and other excursions made the trip fun and memorable, I replayed the precious growth moments over and over in my head during our week together. They may sound mundane but I still recall them vividly:
When we arrived at Crayola Experience on the one rainy day of the week, I immediately looked for a bench to hobble towards as I had been having acute back pain. It was so bad that we looked into renting an Electric Convenience Vehicle at Legoland. Anyways, the boys were dancing in front of some moving crayon images while I watched. Suddenly, a massive group of students on fieldtrip entered the space between the boys and me, while Kevin was in the admissions line. I still had my eye on them but they could not see me. I craned my neck to keep my eye on them and watched as Micah’s face morphed from slight panic to great resolve.
“Ellis, come!” Micah looked ever firstborn in that split second as he grabbed his compliant little bro’s hand and starting walking away from the crowd.
“Micah! Mommy still sees you! Where you going? I never lost sight of you.”
Micah, looking relieved: “I was taking us to the workers to report that we had lost our mom.” (Of course I thought about the movie, “Lion,” all over again. Gulp.)
For some reason, this moment has left a mark on my heart. My boy is growing up. I don’t see the drooly toddler who soaked through 15 bibs a day, no exaggerating, as we watched the big kindergardeners go off to school. This is a bonafide big brother who snatched his cheeky little brother when he thought that this was finally the moment his mom had warned him about, “If you ever get lost, go up to someone who works there OR go up to another mom!”
He is ready to become Big Bro of two.
Second moment: When we hit the pool, Ellis usually asks one of us to hold him as he gets adjusted to the water. I didn’t realize how much I savored that babyish habit until this time, in our Orlando pool, he said, “I don’t need you any more, Mom-oo!”
I paused to take the moment in. “My Pillow Cheeks has grown up so much. You don’t even need Mommy any more!” I sheepishly swam away backwards while facing him to watch him grow before my very eyes. He must have felt this moment too as he added, “I don’t need you. But I still want you.”
And the final moment was at the airport. We were strapped for time as I had kept us another 15 minutes at Disney Springs. Instead of trying to manage with my jacked back, one sleeping Ellis, and too many bags for Kevin and Micah to carry on their own, we flagged down a porter. When I told the porter our flight time, he said, “We have to hurry.”
But I could not hurry. I could hardly walk as I felt stabbing pain on my lower back, even with a belly / back brace on. The rest of my family ran with the porter. I tried my best but I could only walk. My eyes started watering from the pain and I looked up to see my Micah’s concerned face. “My mom…she can’t run. She’s coming. Mommy, you can do it, you can do it!”
Now, my eyes were watering from the love my growing boy had for me as I hobbled to keep up. I always imagine him from a few years back, where I did everything for him. I guess it didn’t dawn on me that as he grows up, he will be the one cheering ME on. I had underestimated the six year old boy before me.
His stricken look didn’t go away until I was able to join them in the elevator to make our flight. I realized that our family being together was just as important to the kids as it was to us.
Thank you, Orlando, the host of our precious moments! Happy 40th Birthday to Kevin, who took care of all of us on the trip!