Overall, we had a wonderful time in Orlando!
Admittedly, we had a few bumps here and there.
I had imagined some sort of magical transformation that would create a conflict-free vacation. I guess, even Disney/Universal do not have that power. But we all worked hard to make our vacation a good family experience!
It also took some time to figure out who really wanted to do what!
Surprisingly, we did not all want to do the same things at the same time. (Shocking, I know!)
That should have been obvious, but it was not (at least, not to me). I worked on "letting go," not an easy transition for me.
Food was a big deal. Since I barely wanted to eat (and many food smells made me nauseas), I always wanted to go on another ride, rather than sit down for an hour and ("waste time") eating lunch. The four other members of my party actually got hungry and needed to eat. Moreover, my kids all inherited my family's trait of getting really obnoxious when hungry!
During our first week, I had to remind myself that we would be going back to all the parks (or most of them) the next week, and I would get another chance to do everything!
I really missed my eldest daughter when she went back home (she's left early, so that she would not miss the final week of rehearsals for Pirates of Penzance). She was my "permanent partner" on all the really scary roller coaster rides! (Moshe gets motion sick, as does my younger daughter, so they skipped those rides.) My son, God bless him, does not always want to hold his mother's hand (it is so "uncool" for a teenage boy to hold his mother's hand. I get it.), but when my eldest left, he was really supportive and agreed to hold my hand for a few of the really scary rides (just as long as there were no witnesses).
My eldest was also a huge help getting everything ready in the mornings, and keeping things organized during the day!
That does not diminish the contribution of my other two kids, who also did their best to be helpful! All the kids carried backpacks all day and pushed their mom around in the wheelchair (which was not always so easy).
Still, when my eldest left, the dynamic also changed.
Add to the equation that, not only did my daughter leave but, my parents joined us during that second week.
My dad actually took over a lot of the tasks that my eldest did -- especially pushing me around (he wanted the extra exercise!).
In some ways, my dad helped me to keep things in perspective. I think (at least, I hope) I was a bit calmer during that second week.
I was surprised that I had to focus so much energy on "taking it easy."
I realized I should apply the same efforts in my "everyday life."
If our family dynamics improve as a result of this vacation, we really will have had a magical experience!
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
GA 2016: Natan Sharansky (video)
6 minutes ago