Miss O finally turned seven this past week. It feels like we’ve been celebrating for months, which we have, because our events have been so disjointed and spread out this year. I’m all for an ongoing celebration, but this felt like it was getting out of hand. I’m already accused of being excessive when it comes to birthdays, but you’re only seven once, ya know?
My family is all about a big reveal. It was rare, growing up, to not get a wildly dramatic, completely over-the-top, YouTube video worthy gift reveal. There was no You Tube back then, but my parents knew how to unbox before there even was such a thing. When my mother invited us to France and England for two weeks of our summer, I knew telling Miss O would be no different.
There’s something about hearing the words “date night,” that make my skin crawl. Nothing will make me say no to an outing faster. You’d think hubs would learn by now that it’s not the best approach, but hey, we’ve only been together 15 years. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with Hubs. It’s the amount of pressure and anxiety that mounts each time he looks at me with those hopeful eyes and the weight those words carry.
I don’t know about you, but for me it’s been one of those weeks where more often than I thought possible, I needed to pause for a moment, close my eyes and wish I was anywhere but where I am right now. It’s just been one crisis after another, none of them terribly real, but all of them incredibly stressful and migraine-inducing. Work, home, family – all of it one big cluster of insanity. As I sip my warm peppermint tea out of my favorite Chip mug, I realize part of the ritual is the mug itself and part is the memory and warm feelings it holds.
Most of us know who that boy is and all about his adventures at a school we can’t decide if we’d actually want to go to. It’s so ingrained in our collective culture by now that even if you haven’t been sorted into a house, you know something about J.K. Rowling’s marvelous world of wizards and magical creatures. It’s a powerful responsibility to usher another generation into Harry’s world. Miss O was a little young for Hogwarts when she was first introduced to Harry Potter, but she dove in deep and hasn’t looked back yet.
Here at the Jackpot, we’re used to getting this close to something, only to have it ripped away just as our fingers are about to touch it. When Miss O fell in love with American Girl dolls, I wanted her to have the whole American Girl store experience, complete with Bistro visit, doll salon trip and everything. We’ve had a run of good luck lately, mostly due to intense planning and severe financial discipline, so I felt confident I could lavish something ridiculous on my daughter for her birthday. Fortunately, we live a short drive from the only American Girl store in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, shortly after we decided Miss O would get a new doll for her seventh birthday, we found out that store would close in three short weeks, a full five months shy of Miss O’s birthday.
After we returned from our first family trip to Disney World, I understood why people love it so much they go back year after year. If you’re enjoying your trip as much as we did, you get this indescribable joy. We were positively giddy for days and everything was new, even though Hubs and I had been there so many times before. It wasn’t until I tried to scan my magic band at Trader Joe’s almost a week after returning home that I realized how much I embraced that magic. The return to regular life suddenly seemed so mundane. A few months later it was downright depressing. I really didn’t think it would hit me that hard, but I definitely had been hit with Disney Depression.
With our first character greeting at Animal Kingdom a complete success, I hoped our scheduled meet and greets in the Magic Kingdom would go equally well. I knew Miss O loved Minnie and Mickey, but I wasn’t sure she was over her uneasiness around costumed characters. I had FastPasses for both days in the park at Fairytale Hall and a park plan that included as many characters as I thought she’d want to see. What I wasn’t sure of were the lines, the weather and our patience holding out.
I find traditions sneak up on you. They’re not often planned, but happen without you realizing they’ve grown beyond a repeated event and become something anticipated or cherished. Some take longer than others to develop this status and others barely finish before you know they’re part of who you are. This was the way of our Christmas since moving to the Boston area 11 years ago.
Here at the Jackpot, we get to do some very special things every now and again. This Christmas season we were given one of those magical opportunities that make you pause and realize how lucky you are, even when it seems like things aren’t as great as they could be. This time, we were invited to see one of our friends perform in New York City and that friend just happens to be a Rockette.