It was August 2012. After months of planning, preparing and excitement, Mike and I had booked and were on our way to surprising our kids (then aged 3 and 6 years) with a stopover in LA to visit Disneyland on our way to Canada for a family wedding.
Travelling with kids is an adventure in itself. The amount of careful planning and manoeuvring that is involved in getting a child or children ready for a trip away is an art form that over the years I felt I had had a good grasp on. Prior to this trip overseas, we had been to Canada for our daughter’s first birthday, and we had made numerous flights to Darwin and North Queensland with both kids as babies and toddlers. This time there would be no nappies, no baby food, no bottles, no stroller, no port-a-cot, and no baby bag.
First up we had to get the passports done. Tilly’s baby passport had expired since her previous trip to Canada, and Mish had not had a passport yet. It was like herding cats in the photo shop. Tilly kept tilting her head, posing more like she was sitting for a clothing catalogue shoot than a passport photo. I would lean in and hold her head up and facing forward, yet just as I would let go for the photographer to get the photo, she would tilt her head, drop a shoulder and smile, her fringe flopping down over her eyes. Eventually we got a photo of her that would be suitable. Next was Mish. Now getting a 3 year old to sit and stare down the lens of the camera is near on impossible. After each photo, we would see he was looking up, down, at his sister, eyes closed, mouth open, and tongue sticking out, tears and temper tantrum and the best one – just the top of his head as he slid off the stool to leave the shop as he had had enough. With Mike, myself, the photographer and retail assistant, we managed to pin him still for a photo.
Passports were sent off and processed. Mike had his leave from work approved. I finalised my last lot of freelance articles ready for me to take a little break from work myself. I pulled the suitcases out ready to be filled and we set about booking the airfares to Canada. Now, we were originally looking at just going to Canada, but it just so happened that on Foxtel, the TLC channel was running a series on Disney parks and Mike and I were glued to the show. Maybe? No. But what if we? We couldn’t possibly! How about we? Hmmmm… So we looked into it and crunched the numbers and decided that it would be a nice surprise for the kids to break up the travel over to Canada with a few days in California, in particular at Disneyland. The more we looked into it, the more we watched this show, the more excited about it we became. So we booked our airfares to include the stop in America, we booked accommodation near Disneyland and the hire car for the few days. Much excitement filled the Jarvis house following the bookings.
Two nights out from our flights was when I set about packing the bags – the kids had no idea that we were going to visit Disney Land – I put on You Tube videos of the Disney park experience as I set about sorting, folding and packing everything we would need for the trip over. As I zipped up the last suitcase, I turned the TV off and went to get up and go to bed. I stood up and as I stepped over the suitcase, my right foot connected with the metal bracing at the base of the suitcase. Internally screaming so as not to wake the family, I limped off to bed. The next morning, the day before we were to fly out, my foot was a mess. Swollen, bruised down the outer side and my two little toes were completely mangled. I had broken them! I didn’t think I hit the suitcase that hard, but I did and now I was stressing out over my big fat ugly foot and manky toes. This was not good.
To be continued….