My daughter has been asking to go to Disney since she was about 9 years old. I would always listen to her ask, nod, smile, and say that tried and true line that I’d borrowed from my own mother: “We’ll see.” I got away with that for, oh, 5 years or so. Five years during which she watched many of her friends go to Disney. Five years during which she watched her older brother go to Disney (in fairness, I never took him either-he was an adult and paid his own way when he went). Five years during which she got older and smarter and my “We’ll see” was starting to fall a little flat, even to my own ears.
A few years ago, she changed her tack; instead of asking to go, she started asking to go for her sixteenth birthday. That changed the game completely. That was a line in the sand. “We’ll see” is timeless, fluid, eternal. “By my sixteenth birthday” was a finish line. I stopped saying, “We’ll see” to my daughter and started thinking, “What if…?” to myself.
Since my one word this year is ‘brave’, the ‘what if’s’ have become more insistent. So what if I haven’t been on a plane in, oh, 25 years or so? So what if my vacation hours at work are precious and few? My daughter will only turn sixteen once. So what if park passes cost more than the airfare? So what if we live far away from an airport with a direct flight to where we are going? So what if the idea of getting us there and back is, um, terrifying?