Memories for Keepsake, Photography by Nicole Williams

Blended families – Something I’ve had in my pile of chats for a while

When I got home from this little mini trip, I realized there was one picture I forgot to get.  One picture of the three people that made me feel so important on this day.  Some might would call our little getaway a mini vacay, some might even go as far as to call it a suicide mission because picture it: Disney springs.  The weekend before the weekend before Christmas.  80,000 people.  8 kids.  3 adults for ONE day + 5 hours already spent in the car hearing “are we there yet” and “I have to pee” 14,000 times.

Ya’ll,  these people love me.  There’s no other way  I could explain their reasoning for helping me achieve my mission on this day. All any of my parents ever have to say to me for the rest of their lives is “Disney springs 2019” and I will shut my mouth.  Seriously.  I owe them big time.  If I win the lottery, I’m buying their mansions first….I’m just saying.

There are a few reasons I’m writing this post.  Some things have been weighing on my mind lately and this post keeps nagging away at my soul because I think it’s important to share. Truth is, the memories made on this tiny little 24 hour trip are priceless to me. I would have spent every penny that I’d make for the rest of my life on the memories created in just 24 measly little hours.

Backstory: We (Like isn’t everyone…duh) are huge Disney fans. With multiple planned visits “home” to Disney this year, we decided it would be better if we purchased annual passes for the kids as their big Christmas present.  We are also big fans of gifting experiences rather than piles of physical “stuff”, so this was perfect in my mind! With just less than a month left until Christmas, there was no way my husband could get a weekend off to go with us, and with so many kids we always have to take two vehicles.  So, with a little sweet talking, (not really…she agreed pretty much instantly) I talked mom into heading down to Orlando for the weekend.  I booked a last minute room at the beach club (LOTS more discussion on this later) with our DVC points and hunkered down for a last minute Christmas trip to the happiest place on earth with the sole purpose of purchasing annual passes. Dad happened to be in Tampa that weekend for a meeting so he met us there a little later in the afternoon.

If you’ve ever been to any of the Disney parks or Disney Springs this close to Christmas, you know it’s basically gridlock everywhere.  This day was no different.  We lucked out and got seats for all 10 of us at the polite pig with the help of my determined teens for lunch (where we also learned that the dining plan truly does have it’s perks! Again, more on that later). 

Lunch was amazing! Later we met dad and Diane, purchased our passes, and the rest of the day was so wonderful that I don’t even remember much of the crowds.  We went through the trail of trees, which is a trail of Christmas trees decorated as nearly every Disney attraction/princess that exists. We did a little bit of shopping and searching for last minute gifts for friends and family.  It was after a trip to the goofy’s candy shop with my brood of 8 that prompted an emergency dash to the nearest margarita stand for mom and I.  I swear it was like someone blew some pixie dust all over us, because we purchased our margaritas (and 8 little virgin slushies) and scored a couple of tables by the water.  It was within those moments that a perfect memory would sketch itself within the deepest caveats of my brain.  One that I would refer back to over the course of the next several weeks because just having everyone there together talking, laughing, genuinely enjoying each other’s company was amazing.

My kids are so lucky! They have so many grandparents that love them and would do anything for them (Even if it means Disney for a day a week and half before Christmas).  Between Dj’s parents and mine, they have seven grandparents that love them.  My grandparents all passed away by the time I was in my 20’s, so the relationships that I get to observe between all of our parents and children are golden.  My parents get along splendidly and my “step parents” are not step parents at all…they are my bonus parents. The older I’ve gotten, the more I value and cherish my relationships with all of my parents because they’ve each had a lasting impression on my growth from child to teenager to adult.  They’ve all given me such valuable advice on my struggles as a new mom, mom of teens, and now mom of adult children.  The avenues I’ve been down, the streets I’ve crossed, all of my internal struggles and pure rebellion sometimes (stems from a long line of female stubborness ya’ll, I can’t help it!) have all led me to this spot.  The place I stand right now looking at my mom and my dad love and laugh with my children together.  My bonus mom hugging and loving on my babies because they are also hers.  My bonus dad (who wasn’t here this day, but just went on a boys trip with us in October) riding all the rides with my boys and standing in 3 hour lines because it was something that was important to me, and we really wanted to do together.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes relationships don’t work out.  It’s not something we plan for, or know will happen…it just does.   Sometimes there are kids caught in the middle, that’s just an unfortunate part of life.  Lately, I’ve seen so many posts on the value of having a good solid relationship with your child’s father/mother in the event of a split up.  I just wanted to show the other side of that.  The side when your kids are all grown up and have families of their own and they are standing in front of a camera smiling with a heart the size of Texas because it’s filled with so much love and gratitude for so many people that love them.  It’s ok that things don’t work out.  It’s ok that maybe things get rocky sometimes and things get hard.  They weren’t always easy for us either, but this is the end result.

We get together for graduations, parties, weddings, babies and other celebrations…this was not an isolated event.  It was just amidst the 80,000 people and a *the best margarita ever* that I had this epiphany and felt it needed to be shared.

 

Shout out to the handsome dude right here that just turned 12! 

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Nicole Williams is a Savannah GA photographer who specializes primarily in newborn baby, infant, children's, and family photography.  Nicole has been photographing since 2008 and is well known in the Savannah, Rincon, Richmond hill, and Guyton Georgia areas. She has also worked frequently with clients in the Beaufort, Bluffton, and Hilton head island SC areas.  Nicole was one of the first modern day newborn photographers in our area and has had clients travel as far as Atlanta GA and Miami FL for her unique photography. 

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