Today I am wearing my Disney World 1999 T-shirt, a souvenir of Brett’s tenth birthday trip.
My parents took each of my children and my brother’s children on a special trip when that child turned ten. As soon as we had grandkids, Carl and I knew we wanted to continue the tenth birthday trip tradition, and we had great fun planning those excursions.
Brett was first. I was invited to speak at a conference in Orlando the week of her tenth birthday, and that seemed a fine destination for a child. It was also a way for her to see me in my professional role. We had so much fun that a year later when I returned to Orlando for my first Florida Young Reader Award, we took her with us again.
Chelsea’s trip came next. She liked country music, so we spent several days in Branson, Missouri, seeing all the shows, including the Radio City Rockettes. We took Eric, our wildlife watcher, on a cruise to Alaska. I’m not sure which he liked best – our visit to a raptor rehabilitation center or the unlimited buffet meals on board ship. Mark, our baseball fan, went with us to see the Seattle Mariners play in Los Angeles, where we ended up on TV as we cheered for an M’s homerun. My son, Bob, taped the game, so I have a video that shows Carl, me, and Mark clapping and yelling at the ballpark. Of course, since we were in L.A., we also went to Disneyland.
The tenth birthday trips are a special bond. When Eric comes to visit, we use my Alaska mug. When the Mariners play in L.A., Mark and I look at the TV screen and find where our seats were. When the Rockettes came to Seattle, we all went to see the show that Chelsea had enjoyed in Branson. And if anyone says, “Orlando,” even in a TV commercial, Brett and I look at each other and say, “Let’s go!”