I’ve just come back from a week of fun and silliness and pottering and playing on a campsite just outside Paris. Ben, myself, 4 friends and 2 children piled into 2 cars and 1 holiday lodge to escape for a few days involving day trips to Disney, some world class car packing, and ridiculously picturesque castles in French villages. Mornings were lazy with pain au chocolats, days spent reading on the deck, failing miserably at crazy golf, cheering as our friends girls learnt the ropes of swimming, bravely facing the kiddie slides and floating alongside the swans in pedalos. We barbecued everyday and ate outdoors with bare toes and full wine glasses.
Every evening, our friends 2 year old daughter has a very cute routine at dinner time where she asks each of us “What’s your best bit?” And we share our highlight from the day. So here are my best bits about the last week that I’m taking home with me.
Firstly, Disneyland. Oh my goodness. After 12 hours amidst Mickey and Elsa, Buzz and Baloo, I reached a whole new level in my desire to create awe inspiring, magical moments. The quality of the scenery and the characters and the staff at Disney are just exceptional. I went to Disneyworld in Florida with my family about 15 years ago and I remember my mum talking about the cleanliness of everything and how nicely painted the scenery all was but when you’re 12, you don’t notice the flowerbeds, you just care about the queue length of rock n rollercoaster and how fast you can run there with your siblings. I remember reading somewhere that the grass at Disney has to be cut to a certain length, all staff tattoos need to be covered, you’re allowed a single ear piercing and men aren’t allowed beards (unless perhaps they’re a pirate).
It’s been a lifelong ambition of mine to be a Disney imagineer, I’m the girl that watches the 3 hour behind the scenes making of Finding Nemo DVD’s. I would love to get inside Disney’s creative teams – the parades were incredible and the the firework and laser show was completely awe inspiring. At the end of the day, when Tinkerbell is flitting round Sleeping Beauty’s castle, leaving trails of pixie dust, Peter Pan is jumping about the fountains trying to catch his shadow, Quasimodo swings around the castle turrets, and where you’re standing in the main street is lit up by festoon lights and twinkly fireworks, Disney create unforgettable moments and you leave entirely speechless. I want to create moments for others like Disney, magical and memorable and full of the beauty and glory of God.
My other best bit was when the boys snuck off on a mission to collect firewood. They came back very pleased with themselves from their scavenge with all sorts of tales about the perils of their quest. They built a huge fire (some may argue too big a fire for the space it was in…!) and we sat around when the children had gone to bed and toasted s’mores and ate strawberry laces and sipped wine, wrapped up in blankets with cold noses. And we had amazing conversation. My friend started us off with a question or two and we shared our hopes and our fears, the best parts of the year and the hard parts. We talked about how we’d grown in the last season and what we were looking forward to in the next. Around the fire, snuggled under the blankets felt like a place of safety and warmth, where it was safe to be seen and heard and loved. It wasn’t fancy or epic, but it was real and memorable
It’s hard to explain all this to a 2 year old when they ask you what you’re best bit is – I think she wanted a one word answer. But my answers felt meaningful when I told them to her and now perhaps Ben and I will start sharing our Best Bits at dinner too.