This trip to Japan and SEA is a bit strange for me. We’re shifted our days dramatically to conform to Emma’s school and speaking demands. I feel like we are upside down with our time allocation. It used to be we’d fit school in around our adventures, now we barely have time to grab lunch together.
On Monday, the only Monday that was free in the next foreseeable future, we zipped off to Tokyo Disney Sea for a Day of Yes. I don’t know if I written about this before. Four years ago, on our very first trip to Japan with the kids, I prepared them ahead of time to understand that in Tokyo everything is expensive. I told them we’d have a great time visiting temples, parks, museums, window shopping and eating street food. It would be lots of fun, but we couldn’t buy much. This part of the trip was at the end of our 6 weeks on the road and we were all a little cross with each other. So when I surprised the kids with a day at Tokyo Disney they were really excited. I was excited. Because anything they wanted to do, or eat, or see, I said Yes. And let me tell you how good it felt to have a whole day of saying yes. It was a day of no fighting, no negotiating and no power struggle. Suddenly I was a really cool mom and they were my sweet and playful kids again. What a gift to give ourselves. And so our Disney day has become traditionally a Day of Yes.
I know that many of you wonder why if we love Japan so much would we “waste” a day at Disney? Let me tell you that the Japanese version of Disney is pretty amazing. The parks are not really for kids. It’s a place where people go on dates (dressed in matching outfits and wearing silly hats), or groups of teens/ early twenty-somethings go to hang out (dressed in matching outfits and wearing hair buns to look like mouse ears) or groups of old people come to hold hands (dressed in disney outfits). There’s a lot of outfits. Also people sitting on special parade watching mats. The Japanese are epic fans. It’s so much fun to people watch– the park is actually secondary. So we are experiencing Japan when we visit Disney, just a very silly, Day of Yes Japan.
And now back to our regular days.
Emma did her first presentation yesterday. The first one of the fourteen she’s doing on this tour of duty. I was looking at a photo of her from last December presenting in Tokyo and its striking how much has changed in a year. Emma’s become a young adult with a passionate cause. She’s no longer focused on her project exclusively, rather she sees the work she’s doing in a broader context. The big idea for this year is to kickstart other kids projects and create a network of youth change makers.
So where do Max and I fit into this blazing schedule of classes and appointments? Honestly? I think we are along for the ride on this one– the ride where you go in a loop-de-loop and hold on to your chair because you don’t know what’s coming. Max and I are trying to keep things steady, doing our work each day, but really we are just spectators on this trip.
I love it that my kids love each other so much. Somedays they don’t LIKE each other, but they do have a great relationship. I know that Emma doesn’t always see how supportive Max is of her. He’s a pesky brother and that’s his job, but I think that he’s really incredibly patient and generous with her. He knows that what she’s doing is hard work and is able give her space and time when she needs it. I think that traveling together brings them closer, there’s more compromise and in the end more understanding.