From Orlando, Florida...

lessons for clara

Dearest Clara,

Normally my work takes me to big cities for small amounts of time, and it's always so hard to leave you behind.  So when the opportunity came to speak at a work conference in Florida, I thought it would be a nice change of pace.  In fact, I even thought I would run a little experiment this time around and bring you on the trip, along with our nanny so that we could get a chance to do something new together.  The work hours were still there of course, but being able to take you to the pool in the evenings, and on long strolls around the Magic Kingdom property are something I'll never forget.  I know we won't have the opportunity to travel this way very often, so I enjoyed every minute.

Sometimes when I travel for work, the destinations seems elusive---how much can you really learn about a place between the airport, the hotel and your work site?  But with you, we did go out and about at least a little bit, and you made me see things that I probably wouldn't have otherwise noticed at all.  When your father asked how Disney was, I said it was funny to me. Everyone is happy, everything is clean, and everything almost struck me as artificial, like a utopia.  And he astutely asked me, "isn't that why people go there?".  And he's right. People come to Disney for the magical experience and for a chance to have a glimpse of life where everything is in its most perfect form.  The street isn't dirty . . . the waitress isn't rude . . . the Boardwalk is just as you remember it from the pictures.  All the characters that you know and love from your imagination could actually pop up at any moment, and everything in your imagination suddenly becomes real.  When I thought about it that way, I realized it was a gift to have a bit of that magic, especially with you.  So with that in mind, here are a few of the things that I learned from our trip that I hope you remember:

  • Wear sunscreen . . . lots of it.  You probably don't need me to tell you that you have your mother's skin.  And that means sunburns and that Florida sun stops for no one! Wear it, put on more than you think you need, and put it on more often than you think you need.  You'll thank me one day.
  • And wear a hat too . . . See above.  I know you don't like it, please just wear it.  I promise one day you will think hats are cool.
  • You can never have too many swimsuits. Specifically, swimsuit bottoms.  If there's one thing that drives me crazy during vacation days, it's having a wet swimsuit on or having to put a wet swimsuit back on a different day. One of the best luxuries of vacation is having a nice dry suit to put on every time you need it, even if you're just about to jump into the water.  Keep an eye out for end of season sales and stock up---you'll be glad you have extra.
  • It's nice to believe in magic. Part of being a child is believing in magic and in the power of your imagination.  Part of being an adult is appreciating those that still do.  Real life gives us plenty of opportunities to see just how real it can be, so protect that part of your world that is full of wonder, happiness, awe and possibility.

All my love,