Tag Archives: vacation

You can always depend on the kindness of strangers.

We’ve all heard this expression over and over. But is it really true? Can strangers be more kind than expected? And what makes people want to help each other? I’ve had many first-hand experiences witnessing this very statement. I’ve had people pull off on the side of the freeway to help me change a flat tire. I’ve had people let me cut in line at the grocery store. I even had someone give me a diaper from one of their kids because I was out and didn’t have any to change my own child. Of course, that one benefited them, too. But I have the ultimate story of strangers going out of their way to help me when I needed it most.

Last October, all 6 of us Montagues and our friends with a family of 4, ventured on a road trip together to Disneyland. This is not a rarity in our family, but having more kids than most people, we do draw a bit more attention and are a lot rowdier than most. Especially as they grow older and bigger, we are even more of a spectacle than we used to be. Our younger kids think they are as old as our older kids, and our older kids think they are as old as us, so many discussions and differences come into play when we are in an environment where opinions run rampant. Which brings me to my point.

My youngest son and child, August, decided that he’d had enough of waiting around for us to figure out what we as a group were going to do next and ventured out on his own. Now, since he is the baby of the family, he does get overlooked sometimes. OK, a lot of the time. But being the independent 3-year-old that he is, he took matters into his own hands and wandered off by himself to pursue his own fun. And being that he is the overlooked baby of the family, it took us a while before we finally realized that he wasn’t with us. About 5 minutes, to be exact, until we noticed that he was gone. My baby had disappeared.

So many thoughts ran through my mind. I was certain that someone had picked him up and walked off with him. I just wanted to yell for everyone to stop what they were doing and find my baby. I had visions of being a Monday night movie of the week where one minute your child is playing and your whole world is bliss then goes crumbling to pieces the next. Everything felt like it was moving in slow-motion and my voice felt silent.

My husband ran around frantically, looking in lines, in restrooms (including the women’s, but that’s a different story), in restaurants and my Gus was no where. After about 5 minutes of my world coming to an end, I got the brilliant idea to ask security for help. Looking back, I’m not sure why that wasn’t my first reaction, but until this moment, even though I had come close many times, I had never actually lost a child.

The security guard asked a series of questions. What color is his hair? Blonde. Eyes? Glasses. How old is he? 3. What’s he wearing? A shirt that says “My Mom Rocks.” Yeah, sure I do. But as much as security helped, and they definitely helped more than I can put into words, I was more than surprised at the many people who came up to me in my panic and asked how they could help.

People I had never seen in my life. A woman in a wheel chair. A mom with her kids. I experienced true kindness like I never had before. And I’m not sure that I ever will again. Even as we were being ushered by security to where August had been found, people along the way were pointing to where he was. Encouraging us. Even applauding as I scooped him up and held on to him for dear life. True and real kindness. Kindness that I will probably never again experience in my life.

The Happiest Place on Earth remained, that day, the happiest. I wish I could personally thank each person that helped to locate my son. Because I’m so thankful. Kindness of strangers does exist. In all capacities. In all locations.

On a side note, after we found August and asked why he wandered away, his response was “I didn’t. I was going on the ride.” He knew exactly where he was the whole time. If that’s not the attitude of a fourth child, I don’t know what is.


The Happiest Place On Earth!

Disneyland!  Yep, for me and my family it really is.  People frequently ask us if we ever just get tired of going there.  Really?  I don’t understand how one get ever get tired of going to Disneyland.  And yes, I’m acknowledging that this may seem a bit odd to some.

Me with my kiddos on the Disneyland tram, Nov. 2009

We try to go once a year.  Last year we were lucky enough to go 3 different times.  However, that rarely happens.  But if we can go once a year, we’re happy.  Not bad for a family of 6 from Seattle.  This year we decided to go in the fall.  111 days from now to be exact.  But I think one of the most fun parts of a vacation is the planning process.

We already know where we’re staying, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.  We already know the days that we’re going, Halloween being one of them.  So what’s left to plan?  Well, not much really, for most people.  But we have hours of Disneyland music to listen to.  Videos to watch.  Websites to visit.  The fun won’t end until the day we step foot back in our house from our epic trip!

But Disneyland holds a deeper meaning to us than to most, I think.  Duane and I met while working at the Disney Store. We got married and honeymooned in Disneyland.  Going back to where our romance first began is a huge part of what has made Disney such an important part of our journey together.  One that most people don’t understand and even question.

But we’re OK with it!  Because as Walt said, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.” And that’s what Disney means to us.