"How is Disney?" My cell phone alerted me to my friend's hopeful text message. I didn't have the heart to respond.
A few hours later, my mom's phone rang. "What ride are you on?" another optimistic friend inquired. My dad joked, "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" while someone else at the table chimed in, "The Haunted Mansion?"
You see, we were booked for a Disney vacation with my whole family to celebrate the start of 2009. But a few days after Christmas, the reality of my grandmother's declining health dictated that we postpone our departure for the Mouse's House.
As our well-intentioned pals texted and called, we were sitting at a Sonny's BBQ somewhere along I-75, headed up to South Carolina for my Mama's funeral. Not exactly how we would have chosen to ring in the New Year.
But even in the midst of this sad season, I found so much joy in the comfort of my family. There on those long BBQ bench seats, we laughed, ate, and bribed the little ones to sit still just a bit longer with crackers and crayons. It was better than a meal at Cinderella's Royal Table.
We caravaned up the road to our final destination and spent the rest of the weekend catching up with cousins, trading stories, and digging up memories. We watched the little ones race up and down the hotel corridors, giggling in their delight to be up past bedtime. And it was way more entertaining than the parade on Main Street.
We listened as my sister delivered an eloquent tribute to my grandmother that took my water-proof mascara for a test run. My cousin's angelic voice filled Marietta First Baptist Church as she sang about the Savior's soft and tender call to each of our hearts. And it was something entirely better than Magical.
Although this trip will probably not fill pages of a scrapbook adorned with castle stickers, my memories will be so sweet. Because the emphasis this year was on the FAMILY part of our family vacation.
(Note: Mom & Dad... don't get me wrong. We're all looking forward to the VACATION part too. hee hee...)