What didn't occur to me was that included in the deal were three very active children, ages 4, 6 and 8.
None of them had been to Disneyland, and I had never been there with children. What a unique and wonderful experience, a perfect vacation, to be with children at Disneyland.
I said to myself, "No problem, I love children, I have 23 nieces and nephews, I've been around children. Heck, I was one once myself." I said "let's go for it," and we all bundled into my two-door Nissan Sentra. The first mistake.
A cocky notion was rolling around in my head, and I assume it's been there a long time, that children and long-distance traveling go together like bread and butter. No problem, just give them some crayons and a coloring book and they're good for the day. I was wrong.
By Nephi, the 4-year-old had to go to the bathroom, the 6-year-old had a headache and the 8-year-old wanted to know how many miles it was to where we were going.
My friend smiled as we drove down I-15, saying this would be my "refiner's fire." By St. George, I was wondering if the Flintstones Vitamin Co. also made tranquilizers. By Las Vegas I was determined to teach the children obedience come heck or high water and by Los Angeles I didn't care, I just needed fresh air and a new day.
After two very full days at Disneyland, two days at the beach and a day at the San Diego Zoo, appropriately scheduled for the end of the trip, I had learned many things.
I learned that I didn't know very much about children's psyches, as I had always led myself to believe. You see, I never realized how deeply important small things are to children, like when they color a picture of themselves and you say it looks like someone else. All of a sudden the tears fall, the little head bows and you realize that what you've really said to them is "you don't know how to draw very well."
I learned to appreciate my parents a whole lot more. Because for the first time in my adulthood I remembered that when I was young, I used to punch my sister while riding in the back seat of a car during a long trip. I used to ask what time it was, how long will it be 'til we get there and when can I go to the bathroom.
I learned that loving and listening works better then yelling and spanking. Often when a child cries, screams, whines or gets grumpy, what he is really saying is, "I just want some attention and I can't wait any longer for you, please listen to what I have to say or hold me, now."
I learned that I could handle five people in a two-door Nissan Sentra for more than 10 hours. It took reading about the patience of Job out of the bible 10 times and saying "this too shall pass," but I did it, and I can now hold my head up high with any parent out there who has also passed this test.
I learned that children can be wonderful even when they're not asleep. Some of the most interesting discussions I have ever had were while traveling on this vacation. For instance, did you know that Cedar City got its name because the people that live there sit all the time? Just ask a 6-year-old, they know all about it.
Most of all I learned that adults can be quite boring and that when I'm walking through the streets of Disneyland I want to be holding onto a child's hand. For they are what truly makes Disneyland an enchanted kingdom.