Going to Disney World with children under the age of five is a little bit like giving birth. By the time it’s all over you forget about the bad parts (like trying to feed Dylan anything other than popcorn or carrying Riley through every park because he refused to walk or sit in the stroller), glorify the good ones (like watching Cinderella blow a kiss to Dylan during the parade or sitting next to Riley on the Toy Story Mania ride with his 3D glasses on upside down chanting “wow” over and over) and start thinking ahead to your next trip.

I’ve never seen my kids so surprised, curious, engaged or happy. But managing them at Disney for a week (at meals, in lines, in bathrooms, in crowded theaters, etc.) felt a lot like keeping them from touching anything in a fine china shop for seven days straight. It was exhausting.

Still, Mike and I are thinking about our next trek to Disney and hope we can stay at one of the hotels on the monorail so Dylan can ride it every day. He informed us the monorail was his favorite thing at Disney. “Not the Kilimanjaro Safari in the Animal Kingdom or Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in the Magic Kingdom?” I asked him. No, the monorail. He’s already constructed an elaborate model of Disney World at home using all (and I mean all) of his toys and the monorail is the focal point.

It was a great vacation for everyone, especially for my parents who spoiled us rotten and got to spend some much deserved time with their grandchildren, but it was good to come home. I’ve always thought the sign of a good vacation is when you’ve escaped enough to actually miss your routine at home.

We brought my parents to the airport on Saturday morning for their flight home to Boston. After being with us for two weeks, none of us wanted them to leave. That morning, Dylan asked me, “Mommy, why do Grandma and Grandpa have to go home?” I told him that even though they loved visiting us, they missed their house, their friends and their jobs. They’ll visit us again, I promised him. To this, Dylan said, “But I love them.”

Me, too. It’s Monday morning and I just got home from bringing the kids to school. I have a few precious hours to myself, and even though I’ve been looking forward to this morning for weeks, the house is strangely quiet. I have a terrible head cold, several loads of laundry to do, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, I have no idea what to cook for dinner and the house needs some serious spring-cleaning. I could really use a vacation.

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