I get it. I do. You’ve saved for months, maybe years, spent a small fortune on what you hope will be the trip of lifetime, planned every detail down to the last FP+, and dreamed of the perfect family moment you’ll share…untethered by technology, unfettered by phones, arms slung lovingly over each other’s shoulders – basking in the glow of Cinderella Castle. A true intermission from the hectic lives we lead.
Finally, the day arrives. You pass under the train station in Magic Kingdom, painstakingly make your way through the crowd, and suddenly find yourself in front of the castle. It is glorious. It is breathtaking. It is transformative. It is everything you imagined. You stand in awe for a few moments, taking it all in. A contented sigh, maybe even a single tear, escapes unbidden, perfectly defining the enormity of this long awaited scene. Your shoulders sag a bit in relief, you’ve made it. You’ve made it to your perfect family moment.
You glance around, scanning the crowd for the familiar faces of your family. Suddenly, your heart sinks. There sits your 19 year old son, his face aglow – but not in the soft glimmer of the castle; no, it’s his iPhone backlighting the smile on his face as he sits, looking down, seemingly oblivious, typing away. What could be so important, you wonder? How can he not be utterly enthralled by the magic before him, you ask yourself? Slightly irritated, you call to him. He smiles and waves, glances down at his phone once more, and then joins you.
You do get your moment, but you can’t help but feel that perhaps you failed a little.
Later that night, after the others have fallen asleep, you log into Facebook to post your favorite castle photo of the evening. As you scroll through the events of the day, your eyes growing heavy with sleep, you see a post from your son.
The post your son was writing when you thought he was just “on his phone again.”
And suddenly, you realize, that was his perfect moment. And in that moment, the truth finds you – no amount of planning, no amount of money, and no amount of micromanaging can make those moments happen.
The trick is simply, not to miss them when they do.
I understand our need to unplug and reconnect, and I believe firmly that we must be diligent in teaching our children that there is more to life than technology. But I have also come to realize that this generation is a generation born of technology and steeped in the connection that technology offers them. At its best, it has created an outlet for this generation to share things, important things, things that might otherwise go unsaid. At 19, my son would never have found the words to share aloud the emotion he was feeling in that moment. It would have simply passed us by. I am forever grateful to technology for the outlet it afforded him, and the snapshot of true magic it afforded me.
Balance, my friends. It’s all about finding a balance.
Rebecca continues to make memories with each new trip around The World. If you’d like to follow her adventures, or just sit quietly in front of the castle with her, you can find her on: