Ten Years in the Making

It is never too late to keep a promise.

I apologize for not writing anything sooner. Things have been a little hectic these past few weeks. I have been busting my butt to save up for a Disney World vacation.

My daughter, Lily, is six-years-old.

She’s finally forty four inches tall. She will be tall enough to ride most of the rides. I know my family will want to ride things like Splash Mountain and Space Mountain.

While I don't expect Lily will want to ride everything, I am hoping she will be willing to ride most everything. I plan to start with a few tamer rides, and gradually work our way up to the bigger rides.

For such a little girl, she isn't afraid of much. For example; one of my second cousins got a virtual reality headset for Christmas. It is basically like watching something in 3D, except the screen is mere inches from your eyes. You feel as if you are really there. You can look in any direction, just by turning or tilting your head.

One of the videos include a serene prehistoric forest and dinosaur scene. Then suddenly, with no warning, the dinosaur charges straight at you. The scene is incredibly lifelike.

My young cousin delighted in pulling people aside, and letting them watch this dinosaur scene. He wanted to see their reactions to the dinosaur charging. Even most of the adults would jump or yelp.

The younger kids had the most entertaining reactions. Some would run backwards a few steps, trying to get away. Several people had already watched it. By the time he approached Lily, there was a small audience excited to see her reaction.

Lily oohed and ahhed at how cool the dinosaur was, and how real the trees looked. However, when the dinosaur charged, she didn't even flinch. She laughed and said, "It's a good thing it's just pretend, or I would have ran really fast to get the heck out of there!"

The adults shot impressed looks in my direction. They gave Lily a pat on the back. I was so proud of my sweet girl. I have been teaching her the difference between make-believe/pretend/fantasy and real life. I am glad to have proof, she fully understands the concept.

My eighteen-year-old son, Drew, graduates from high school this Spring.

He starts college in the Fall with a full scholarship for Band. He currently plays the snare drum, but has mastered all percussion instruments.

I would love to believe Drew will finish his Bachelor's, Masters, and one of many Doctorates, before he thinks about things like moving in with a significant other, marriage, or starting a family. However, I am trying to be realistic. Sadly, I know this could very well be the last Summer he will live at home.

Yes, I am one of those parents, who wishes my son will live with me forever. Yet, for his sake I hope that isn’t the case. Drew is a self proclaimed mama’s boy... just not too much so.

Every mother wants her son to be a mama’s boy, but few people want to marry one ;)

We live roughly 700 miles from Disney.

It's too short of a distance to waste an extra $1500 to fly. It's too long of a drive to spend less than six or seven days there. It is always an expensive trip.

Back in 2007, we had planned a Disney World Vacation. The money was saved and reservations were already paid.

There were twenty or so furniture factories within a fifty mile radius of our home. Obviously, they employed a large portion of our area’s work force. My husband, Justin, worked for Lane Furniture.

Not long after making our Disney reservations, Lane Furniture had their first round of layoffs. While​ Justin didn’t get laid off that round, Lane announced there would be a total three rounds of layoffs in the next six months. This news made both of us extremely nervous. It wasn’t the best timing to spend several thousand dollars on something as frivolous as vacation.

I have never been one to hide reality from my kids. I make sure they understand their Daddy and I will take care of them. I make sure they know it is nothing to worry about. If money is tight, money is tight for the whole family. Necessities and routine expenses are always paid for, even if extra jobs are necessary. However, even young children can learn to contribute to the families finances by cutting back on luxuries.

Drew was only eight-years-old.

He was super excited about going to Disney World. It was to be his first Disney trip.

I fully expected eight-year-old Drew to be devastated. If he had been, we would have gone to Disney anyway. I don't break promises to my kids. Ever. If something comes up, we reschedule.

Instead, Drew was supportive and understanding. All he said was, "That's okay Mama. Family vacations are so families can spend time together. If we can't go to Disney World, we can do something fun that doesn't cost much money. I don't care where we go, as long as we spend time together as a family."

I promised we would go to Disney some day.

That was 2007. Justin got laid off the third round. I would not let him get another job in the furniture industry. Instead, we temporarily moved into a two-car garage-sized apartment on his family’s property. This helped to reduce our monthly bills tremendously. I worked full time, while Justin went back to school.

The recession hit full force in 2008. Justin was still in school full-time.

Lily was born in 2010. Until now, Lily was too little for Disney. I have offered to take Drew to Disney, while she stayed with Nonna and Pop Pop. He wanted to wait until she was old enough to go. We have taken smaller vacations that were low key enough for a small child, but nothing as tiring as Disney.

Now it's 2017. Lily is old enough to enjoy such a big trip. This is Drew's last summer before college. We will be going to Disney World this summer, come hail or high water.

I keep my promises, even if it takes ten years to do so.

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