For my daughter's sixth birthday, Dustin and I took her to Disneyland for the first time. It was the perfect time to go because we could escape the cold Utah weather and she wouldn't miss a day of school.
The part I was dreading the most, the long drive from SLC to Anaheim ended up being the best part of the entire trip.
My daughter greatly disliked Disneyland with the exception of meeting the princesses and fairies.
In all fairness, the park was extremely busy. And, with all the many things to see and do, after an hour into our second day, she had reached her limit. As we made our way back to the hotel, I thought about all the time and money we invested into this trip, hoping it would be a wonderful birthday weekend, only to be disappointed with her lack of enthusiasm.
Every year, I take my girls' pictures at the exact moment they were born. Back in the hotel room, I compared the picture of from this year to the one from the year before. Exhaustion and stress at Disneyland. Complete joy at our house.
Luckily, I had a friend in the area that had an annual pass to Disneyland, so while Dustin and Isabelle spent the day in the hotel I went back to the park with her. It definitely was not how I planned the trip to go, but ultimately that's how things worked out.
Dustin sent me pictures of them hanging at the hotel, and Isabelle was the happiest she'd been all weekend. I'd always known her to be a home body, but I didn't think she'd pick home over the so-called Happiest Place on Earth.
I suppose you could argue I have an ungrateful child, and to a certain extent you may be right. However, I took away so much more from this trip than I ever expected. I learned that my daughter does not need much to be happy. In fact, less really is more in her eyes. I also learned that there's no other place Isabelle would rather be than at home.
And, I guess, that's not really bad thing.
In the meantime, we'll save our pennies and keep birthdays here low-key and in the comfort of our own home.