Thursday, October 6, 2016

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Yesterday we were dealt a pretty sour lemon. For those that don't know (read: anyone we are not connected to on Facebook or Instagram or in real life) just about eighteen months ago Dave and I booked a Disney Cruise out of New York City. The four of us have wanted to go on a Disney Cruise for as long as I can remember, and once we saw they were sailing out of NYC we knew this was the moment we had been waiting for. Our friend (and travel agent extraordinaire) Lori booked our trip for us and the waiting began. Joining us on this Disney Cruise adventure would also be Dave's parents and the four of us adult agreed that we'd keep this a surprise from the girls until the day of the sailing. We weren't exactly sure how we'd share with the the real reason for our trip to New Jersey but we figured we could figure that out when the trip got closer.

Over the summer I took the girls to the $1.00 movie near us a few times. The first time we went a Disney Cruise commercial was played before the movie. The three of us sat there longingly watching this and dreaming of a Disney Cruise. On the inside I was grinning a huge cheshire cat grin knowing that in a few short months we would be sailing. The second time we went the same commercial played and there were many choruses of "Oh mama, can we go on a Disney Cruise someday?". The third and final time we went Emma looks at me and says: "I want to go on a Disney Cruise so badly but Daddy will never take us!" And right there the way we would tell them was born!

When we were able to book port adventures and things to do on-board we were also given the opportunity to set up a character call. The chosen character would call at whatever time and day we chose (so for us Friday October 7th at 9:00am) and tell the girls they'd see them on board the Disney Magic.  We had planned to head down to Dave's parents house the night before so that they would be able to be part of the big reveal, too. The girls would simply be told that w were going to NJ and that we'd be away for longer than weekend (which would explain the large amount of clothes that would need to be packed) . It was all coming together beautifully.

So back to the plan on how we were going to revel the real reason for the trip to the girls. We figured that they'd be a bit confused about what they just heard Mickey and Minnie say. It was then we would say to them: "Remember where Emma said she wanted to go but Daddy would never take us? Well, we're not really staying in New Jersey, we're actually going on a Disney Cruise and we leave today!"  Knowing that we'd most likely get an amazing reaction to this announcement we had planned to record the big reveal for all to see. It was our way of thanking everyone for helping us keep this surprise a surprise for so long.  It truly is incredible how many people knew and how no one spilled the beans to the girls. We cannot tell you how much that meant to us.

Sadly, it was not to be.

When Hurricane Matthew first came on the scene I dropped Lori a line to ask her thoughts. Granted it was way too soon to tell but something in me just knew that this hurricane was going to be trouble. We crossed our fingers and toe and sent up countless prayers to the powers that be (Mother Nature especially) and hoped that this hurricane would just disappear from the radar.

Clearly, it did not.

So yesterday, when it was announced that Port Canaveral would be closing at noon I just knew that our much looked forward to surprise vacation was not going to happen. In all my searching (and I did a TON of searching yesterday) I learned that the last time they closed Port Canaveral was twelve years ago and when it closed then it didn't reopen for eleven days. My heart sank. All I kept thinking was: this can't be happening.

Oh, but it was.

Before Dave left for work, and before I spent an entire day starring at iPhone and computer screens, I said to Dave: "I have a feeling they are going to send the Magic north. We're going to become a Canadian cruise." Dave looked at me like "there's no way." Let's just say, it's one of those times I wish I could predict the lotto numbers cause that is exactly what happened!

Finally, around 4:30pm yesterday Disney announced cancellations for cruises out of Port Canaveral. They also announced that our cruise, the Disney Magic, would become a Canadian cruise. Now, don't get me wrong, I would  absolutely love to go to Canada but we all had our hearts set on a tropical cruise (and had packed for a tropical cruise) and so when it was also announced that we could cancel our trip and get a 20% discount on a future sailing we took it. We toyed with sailing later this month, but Dave and his mom said it would be really hard for them to get the time off, so we agreed that we'd book for a sailing sometime in late 2017. Dave's mom will be retiring at the end of this academic year and so it makes sense to travel when there is one less work schedule to factor in. 

Next up: how to tell the girls....

So, I sent Dave off to do the dance class drop off, pick up, drop off thing and I took that time to call my mom and cry to her. And cry I did. I got it all out before Dave and the first dancer came home and felt loads better.

Dave and I talked some more (and agreed we had to fess up to the girls), chatted with his parents about what new sailing date to choose and picked the second dancer up from class. Just before we sat down to dinner we told the girls we had something to tell them about our trip.

We started out by telling them that there was a massive hurricane that was making its way to the Caribbean and Florida. We talked about how people would be evacuating and how it wasn't safe for anyone. We then shared with them that while we were indeed going to New Jersey Thursday night the original plan was that weren't staying there the whole time. We went on to say that a year and a half ago we booked a major surprise for them and that they would have been finding out about the real reason for our trip on Friday morning. They were, as you can imagine, at this point a  bit confused. We continued: "Emma, remember over the summer what you said you wanted to do but that daddy would never take us?" Well, the real reason for our trip was that we were going to be going on a Disney Cruise (much joy at hearing this occurred) but sadly we can't because of Hurricane Matthew (and the joy and elation quickly turned to sad faces). We ended with, "we are still going but it won't be until sometime in 2017." And at that statement joy and elation returned. "It's OK mama, it's sad we can't go now but it will be great that we get to go soon!" and many questions about Disney Cruises and all that we can do on-board and where we would go began being asked.

These girls of ours never cease to amaze us. They always handle everything with such grace and understanding. It is truly remarkable. Had I any idea how beautifully this all would have gone (and really, I suppose I should have known) I would have recorded us telling them all this for everyone to see. Their reactions and questions were incredible and it is something I wish we could have shared with everyone. Instead it will be one of those moments that I carry with me in my heart forever.

In the end we have booked an even more amazing Disney Cruise than this one would have been. We'll still be sailing out of New York City. And it will still be an eight day Bahamian cruise. However, instead of being Halloween themed it will be holiday themed and that, my friends, really is way more us.

Today the girls had many more questions about the cruise, and we spent the day checking in with various port webcams and watching cruise ships come in, as well as the storm arrive. They are so completely excited to go but did ask that we not tell them the new sailing date. I think they want to be surprised, and I think they also know that it's far too far away from our sailing date right now. So, we are honoring that request and hope you will all join us in honoring their request, too. We have no idea how or when we will reveal when we are sailing to them, but you better believe we'll find some fun way to do it!

Tonight, as I was tucking in the girls for bed Grace said to me: "Mama, I am sad that we aren't going on the Disney Cruise right now but I really think Mother Nature just knew that wasn't the one for us and that we really needed to go on the new one that you and daddy chose."

And so ends the story of how one majorly sour lemon became some of the sweetest lemonade we've ever made. xo


  1. It is so sad this happened; I can remember when you first decided to book it! But your girls handled it beautifully (no surprise there!) You will all appreciate the real cruise next year so much and will have an amazing time. I'm so excited for you!!

    1. Thanks, doll! I couldn't believe after all that waiting we have to wait longer BUT I truly do believe that the cruise we will go on will be even more amazing (and way more "us") than the one we were supposed to be on right now! I just wish we didn't have to wait so long! xo