It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are or where you come from…Disney has something for you. I decided to spend my birthday there with my brother and his family. He wanted to do Chuck E. Cheese, but I put my birthday foot down.

A group of eight can be tricky to entertain, especially with 4 kids of varying ages. Not at Disney. While Nate and his cousins fought off Darth Vader & Darth Maul (yes, again.) my 2-year-old, Zeke found his own fun:

The wait time on this gate was an hour, but we did a Fast Pass.

There was one HUGE difference in this trip that made it more magical than even I could have ever imagined:

FRANKIE!!!

Take all the Disney magic, excitement, fun and politeness….give him the power to stop whining kids in a single bound…top it off with the ability to jump long lines…wrap it all up in a plaid vest and you have our VIP tour guide for the day (drum roll please) FRANKIE!

Let’s just say Disney will never be the same for us again because once you’ve had Frankie…there’s just no going back.

Kids are smiling, parents are happy...why? Frankie. Grumpy ladies in red next to us...why? No Frankie.

How many people have ever spent 12 hours in 2 different Disney Parks with four kids under 8 with no whining, crying, fighting or meltdowns? WE DID! How?  Frankie.

And when the day was  over…he read us all a  story and tucked us into bed where our dreams were filled with the most magical day at Disney EVER!  (OK…maybe I dreamed that last part but it sure felt real.)

Thank you Frankie for treating my crazy family like royalty…

and thank you Disney…for the magic that never gets old at any age.

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Ever since I hit 35, time is on fast forward. I’m usually getting down the Easter decorations while I’m on the ladder putting away the Christmas ones. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve uttered the sentence, “But I just paid the mortgage, how can it be due again?” I’d be able to pay the mortgage.

But as a kid I remember thinking the time it took the clock to go from 3:00 to the 3:15 dismissal bell seemed like 4 lifetimes and the time it took for your birthday to come around might as well had been in the next millenium.

I am reminded of this phenomenon 362 days a year. The other 3 days? That’s Halloween, Christmas and Nate’s birthday. The destinations of his eternal journey through time. “Mommy, how many days until Christmas? What comes next, my birthday or Halloween? When is it going to be August, my birthday is in August. If today was Dec. 1. Is Christmas tomorrow?” And that was during his bedtime story tonight.

Then it hit me…both Nate and Zeke’s 1/2 birthdays are only a month apart and they fall in Feb. and March. Two months that don’t have a lot going on. We could celebrate their 1/2 birthdays each year! No parties or anything like that, just one extra day where each of my boys get to feel special and I don’t have to answer the “How many days until…” questions.

We woke up and told Nate,

“Guess what today is?”

“The day you write your blog and I have to find something to keep me quiet?”

“ehem..uh…no, Nate…it’s your 1/2 birthday!”

“WHAT?!!”

“You’re 5 and 1/2 today!”

{grabbing his face in disbelief and joy} “I’m 5 1/2 TODAY? Right now? Right this minute, I’m 51/2 years old? If someone asks me how old I am, I can say I’m 5 1/2?”

“That’s what I’m saying. What would you like to do today to celebrate your 1/2 birthday?”

“I can pick anything I want?”

“As long as it’s within 30 miles and legal.”

{Thoughtful, careful pacing ensues} “Mommy, Daddy…I know what I want to do today! Since I’m 5 1/2 now, I am brave enough to…I’m finally ready to…I want to join the Jedi Training Academy and fight Darth Vader! Only Darth Vader…I’m not brave enough to fight Darth Maul. He has 2 light savers.”

“Wow, Nate…that’s huge! I’m so excited for you. Let’s pack the backpack and head out to Disney’s Hollywood Studios so you can become a Padawan!”

Nate told EVERYONE in our path (including the car next to us at the red light) that it was his 1/2 birthday so he was joining the Jedi Training Academy to fight Darth Vader…NOT Darth Maul…NEVER Darth Maul.

Nate waits with the other Younglings to get his instructions.

I have to tell you that while Nate was given his uniform and herded into a group to get “debriefed” by the Jedi “drill Sargeant” Master, I had a mini panic attack. Flash forward to him joining the military to go off to {?} to fight {?}. Note to self:  Have a moving-to-Canada party for Nate’s 17 1/2 birthday.

The training begins...

The party is crashed...Darth Vader!

Nate was sent into battle..."The force is strong with this one."

It's official...my eldest son, like his father...is a Star Wars Geek. At least I don't have to worry about him dating until he's in college.

Then we all went home and had 1/2 a cupcake and sang 1/2 of “Happy Birthday”. As I was tucking Nate into bed he was still bubbling with pride and excitement:

“Mommy?”

“Yes, Nate.”

“This was the best 1/2 birthday I’ve ever had!”

“I’m so glad, Nate. I had fun, too.”

“How many days until my other birthday? Does Halloween come first or Christmas? It’s so hard to wait…”