“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller
Dad! That signs made of Lego’s! Dad!
Here we go, the big day had finally arrived. Legoland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was the culmination of the boys trip he had planned for us. It was also the culmination of a talk I had at Dad2.0 on the street in New Orleans. One of those chance encounters that really doesn’t mean that much at the time. One of those encounters that makes you smile at the time, but doesn’t really seem like a great big deal. It really felt like a nice little one-off conversation with a fellow conference attendee and his family.
The trip to Florida with my boy had been planned for about a month already. Some details needed to be worked out, but the general outline was there. Beach, baseball and Legoland were going to be the ice cream of this sundae with some other things mixed in to top it off. The boy was stoked, I was genuinely excited to spend the time together, even if we had to go to an amusement park. I was also excited that I could pay for my flight with points and he could fly with me on my Southwest Airlines companion pass. I also had points that I had been hoarding to pay for the hotels, which was great, because I am super
cheap economical. I thought all I would have to pony up for was the Park, baseball game and the rental car. Awesome!
Creed Anthony is a good dude that I meet a few years ago at Dad2.0. He is one of those guys with an infectious laugh and a way of making you feel as though he is actually interested in what you’re saying. He is also an excellent blogger whose words carry a little weight with me. He is the chance encounter that cool New Orleans morning that I referred to earlier. He and his family were off to find breakfast and my wife and I were walking in the opposite direction when I spotted him. I did something I never do, I initiated a conversation. You see, Creed and I have spent precious few moments together other than a plane flight to San Francisco where we exchanged pleasantries and cab from the airport to a hotel in DC, we really only talked in those brief encounters people have at conferences. By all accounts, he doesn’t really know me and I really only know him from watching him speak at Dad2.0 and his blog.
As we chatted I told him about the guys’ trip my boy and I were going to be taking and he asked if I had reached out to Legoland for tickets. I laughed, and then said “Oh, you’re serious.” I didn’t really think that my new blog would garner interest from them, but he encouraged me to reach out. I did, and they totally comped me two tickets. This was a big boost in confidence for me which led me to reach out to Kia & Driveshop to inquire about a car for the weekend, and they came through as well! The point is, without this encouragement in this chance meeting on the freshly hosed off streets of New Orleans, I never would have had the confidence to make these connections.
This dude loved our Kia. He was so excited every time we got in it.
While we were waiting in line to enter the park, my son was literally shaking with excitement. He was looking around wide-eyed and excitedly pointing out that everything is made of Lego’s, with the awesome permanent grin that can only be on a six-year old’s face. This look, this perfect childhood look, filled my heart. I am thankful that I was wearing sunglasses, so my tear filled eyes didn’t have to be explained. Not that I shy away from crying in front of my kids; I just didn’t want my tears to take away from his moment.
Everything is AWESOME!
What’s with this age and bunny ears!?!?
That doesn’t seem mini.
“Dad, even the chairs are cool!
The park didn’t disappoint. I could bore you with his newly discovered love of roller coasters, or his amazement (and mine) at all of the different cities and Star Wars creations in mini-land, or his excitement and trepidation of trading mini-figures with the Model Citizens, but I won’t. I will tell you, we spent one day at the park from open to close, and it was great. We broke the day up by spending the hottest portion of the day at the water park, which was fun. It also gave me my best “shouldn’t have said” that moment.
There are these water slides that are pretty big. Being a sensible Dad, I asked if he wanted to do them, expecting a hesitant no as the answer. Boy was I mistaken. The boy was all about the slides. As we ascended the steps, there was a moment of wavering, and I made a choice to encourage him to finish the climb. I was all about going back down, but this moment was not about my fear, but helping him face his. Grin and bear it, I told myself, for the boy. The attendant at the top patiently answered his questions, then it was time to ride.
The green slide on the right was his, I had the honor of the middle slide.
“You mind taking the fast one Dad?” Sure buddy! I hate heights and water slides and amusement parks, except for today, because I love you. The directions tell you to keep your legs crossed until the ride is over. I will admit, it is excellent advice. Advice I failed to follow, unfortunately. Fortunately it led to the best/worst shouldn’t have said that moment.
When you fail to heed the advice of the crossed legs water shoots up your….. well you can figure that out. As I got up and reevaluated my most recent decision, the boy asked what was wrong. I told him the slide had given me a super water wedgie. He laughed as hard as I’ve ever seen him and for the rest of the day asked if my wedgie was ok before cracking up again.
Thanks Kia for getting us through our guys weekend stylishly.
This day, this weekend had a great healing effect on my heart. It helped with my grieving for my dad. Writing this post has reminded me of the people out there and their support I truly need and get, even when I don’t expect it. Thanks all involved with making it possible.