My mom met my stepdad in the early 90s in West Germany. She was in the army and stationed there. He was there for work. Having spent most of his life in communist East Germany, the pay was more competitive in the west after the wall fell. They met at a club and, if you ask them, they will tell you it was love at first sight. Despite the fact that they spoke different languages, they have scarcely spent a night apart since that first meeting.
It all reads a little like the plot of a cheesy romcom, but this is the way it happened. It wasn’t all floating hearts and pet names and Michael Bolton singing When a Man Loves a Woman, though. Mostly because their ‘happily ever after’ consisted of blending a family. Between them they had four daughters, two a piece, and each of them had an older daughter who was strong-willed and hot-headed.
I should know. I was one of them.
We weren’t exactly the Brady Bunch and I don’t envy my stepdad’s role as the only man in a home full of women with hormones bordering on homicidal. Looking back on it from the perspective of six years spent raising children of my own, my parents did an admirable job of building a family.
One of my favorite memories of us all together growing up was the time we took a vacation to Disney World. The trip began with a 12 hour drive and all four of us girls crammed into the back of my step-dad’s Ford probe. It’s impossible not to form a bond with someone when you spend that much time with their legs across your lap.
The five days we spent in the parks were more than worth the stiff knees and sore muscles of an uncomfortable road trip, though. It was as magical as it was rumored to be and, for me, it was the first time we really felt like a ‘normal’ family. Two decades later, it is still one of the top vacations I have ever taken.
I was happy I got the chance to relive it in a sense when I took my family there this year.
What’s your first Disney memory? Has your family ever taken a trip to the Disney parks?
Want to capture your own family memories on video? We’re giving away two Sony Handycams! To enter for a chance to win, simply comment on this post with an answer to the following question: what’s your favorite family memory?