My family has a long Disney history. After my parents were married, they brought my four older siblings to Disney World for their honeymoon, and the cabinets in my childhood home are stuffed with Mickey Mouse-covered photo albums from the trips we took in the years that followed. The most memorable trip came in 1993, when my dad's side of the family flew to Orlando and my mom jokingly bought everyone bright orange t-shirts for the occasion. My siblings, mostly teenagers at the time, were not happy about the whole matching-shirts thing, and it became a hilarious family story that ended with my brother's best friend finding a Given Family Reunion t-shirt at the local thrift store years later.
This past week, my parents, my siblings, and their families met us in Florida for a week-long trip to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday and my parents' 30th wedding anniversary. As the youngest child, I never got to experience Disney World with little kids, and going back with my nieces and nephews was just so special. While we were there, Miles got to celebrate his golden 4th birthday, and the look on his face when he met Mickey Mouse on his big day is something I'll never forget. Meanwhile, there's nobody who loves Disney World quite like my mom — seriously, nobody — and thanks to her, we all grew up feeling like Disney held some sort of magic. I love her for it.
Seven days, five theme parks, and a whole lot of fireworks shows later, we're now back home, and although I just about never develop pictures anymore, I may or may not have bought a Mickey-themed photo album for this trip. Blame it on the Disney air, but something about that place makes you feel so sentimental, like a little kid again, and I'm in the midst of a happiness hangover.