The Mystery of the Cardboard Box

We spent last week in Florida, the long-awaited, much-planned-for trip to Disney World I’d been saving to take my kids on.

They would’ve been happier just sitting at the pool all week and watching movies in the condo when it rained. It’s like the proverbial box that a new toy comes in – far more interesting than the expensive toy itself.

I don’t know why it surprised me. They’re young and it’s exhausting to traipse through amusement parks that require effort and exertion just to get inside the gates. No one likes waiting in line for rides. But I guess I thought the “magic” promised of the Disney institution would trump any run-of-the-mill excursion.

Asher’s favorite attraction was the Harry Potter come-to-life setting at Universal Islands of Adventure. Eliana liked the pool and the sun and the outlet-mall shopping. Shaya liked playing on the iPad on the balcony every morning and couldn’t stand the chain-restaurant food; by week’s end, he refused to eat, claiming, “There’s no good food in Florida!”

And so we returned home to a table laden with vegetables and salads and fresh fish and tall glasses of water. I guess my lessons on healthy foods and healthy living really have sunk in.

But it wasn’t all bad. Except for two colds, one ear infection and one bout of tonsillitis, we splashed in the pool and soaked in the sun. We read books and watched movies. We cozied up on couches and beds and airplane rows. There were high stools at the breakfast counter (always fun) and we did enjoy select moments and sights at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

Biggest lesson from this vacation? We don’t need the tricks and sights of a destination; we just need the quiet and peace of a sun-filled locale and the chance for some real quality – be it time, food or accommodations. That’s all. Simple needs for simple pleasures. Perhaps we went all that way to learn just that.

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