I’m an introvert; my natural tendency is to hole up at home with a blanket and a book. But that’s hardly any fun for my little ones, and even I get bored of myself sometimes. This holiday season I’ve been on the lookout for things we can do that a) don’t require a lot of effort, b) don’t cost a lot of money, and c) aren’t impossible with a preschooler, a toddler, and a newborn in tow. Which is how we ended up at the Holiday Balloon Glow in Gilbert.
Admission was free (yes!) and, since we went in the late afternoon, there wasn’t a huge crowd (also yes!). However, there also weren’t any hot air balloons out yet, and seeing them was the whole point of going. I’d failed to realize that, since the event is about the balloons glowing, people don’t start filling the balloons until close to sunset so they’ll have plenty of fuel to keep flying long after dark. We weren’t really interested in the vendors or the bouncy castles, and while Margot was happy to play in the gravel, hanging out in a mostly empty lot wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
Plus I wound up nursing Ryan on the sidewalk outside a sporting goods store. Good times.
The whole outing was nearly a bust until we spotted this:
The first balloon was being inflated!
The event people hadn’t yet roped off the area surrounding it, so we were able to get really close and watch it get bigger and bigger and bigger.
I think I was more excited than the girls were when they lit the fire and it started to lift.
It was just so gorgeous!
By the time it took off, Ryan had woken up (he had happily passed out my Solly Baby wrap) and was starting to fuss. We figured that was our cue to leave. But the timing couldn’t have been better. The girls thought it had been a great adventure, David and I were so pleased that we got to see the whole thing from start to finish, and best of all, we were home in time for dinner, baths, and bedtime.
My friend Eliza recently blogged about taking her oldest kids to a Messiah sing-along and I strongly identified with how she felt about the experience. She paraphrased one of Gretchen Rubin’s* Secrets of Adulthood: sometimes, in order to be happier, you have to do things that don’t necessarily make you happy.
I would much rather stay home than gather diapers and shoes and jackets and cameras and water and dollars and children into the car and go somewhere, only to have to change pants and feed a baby and deal with possibly being disappointed once we get there. Home is comfortable. Staying there is easy.
But here’s the thing: it’s always more fun to go out and have an adventure. Even when it’s difficult to get there and turns out not to be what I expected, I’m always so glad I went.
I’m going to have three small children at home until Mila starts kindergarten next fall. David will be traveling a lot for work. This year isn’t going to be easy or comfortable. But however difficult it is, and whatever unexpected challenges arise, I know I will be happier for having spent that precious time with my babies.
Here’s to enjoying the ride.