I was six years old and we were all gathered in the living room. My mom and dad were there along with my siblings. That is when it happened. Mom and dad told us that we were GOING TO DISNEY WORLD! To which the picture shows all of us kids piled on top of dad on the couch with sheer DELIGHT on our faces.
This past Saturday we didn't tell the kids that we were going to Disney World, but we did tell them something else that right away brought me back to that childhood memory from when I was six.
I sat them all down on the couch. Our two biological kiddos were there along with our three kiddos who we adopted. "I have a surprise!" I said. (Our kids LOVE surprises!)
"We are going out to lunch today!"
Squeals & cheers ensued! (We try to make the whole eating out thing a treat...all five of them were thrilled.)
Then I told them, "It's also going to be really special because mommy _______ and grandma _______ are also going to be there!"
There was cheering and squealing, hands in the air and some dancing going on! I kid you not.
I told them that they had half an hour to make some Christmas cards for their mom and grandma before we headed to see them. They darted for the dining room table, grabbed the paper, grabbed the markers and got to work. Even our two youngest joined in on making cards for them.
I've shared a little bit about how twice a year we get our kids together with their birth family. Once in the summer time and once around the holidays. It still feels like new and uncharted territory every time we get together, although it has been a couple years now that we have been doing this. As the kids get older I'm always wondering what our next gathering will look like.
We had planned on meeting at a nice restaurant but then ended up needing to change the location at the last minute. So instead we met at a McDonalds. Thankfully there was a giant round table to fit all of us at. Presents had been brought for our three oldest kids so those were passed out first. That is when our youngest began to quietly shed tears because there wasn't a present for him. Perfect timing to suggest that we go order some happy meals with toys in them. The one time in my life I've actually been super grateful for those Happy Meal toys. "You'll get a present, buddy." His tears turned to a smile.
The kids ate their food, questions were asked about school, favorite subjects were talked about, etc. There was a giant tv on in the corner playing something about sea creatures. I tried to suggest to the kids that they stop watching the tv so that they could focus on this special time that they had with their family. That resulted in a short conversation about gym class and then ten seconds later they were captivated by the dolphins that were on the screen...kids.