Growing up, we all have places and experiences that make up our childhood memories. Some of them are as simple as our hometown grocery store. Others are local attractions and events visited year after year.
Dutch Wonderland is one of the many places where memories were made in my childhood. Hubby as well. Since we both grew up in the area (and Dutch Wonderland was the closest amusement park around), both of our families took us there a lot (although I didn't know Hubby when I was a kid). When I was younger, DW was smaller and more tame. As time went on, they expanded, boasting a roller coaster and a water park.
At the end of Winter Break, Hubby and I decided to take the girls on their first trip to Dutch Wonderland. When you live around here, it's, like, a non-negotiable experience. Unlike many amusement parks, Dutch Wonderland opens for a holiday-themed season, so they are open in December. It was bitterly cold when we arrived, so we quickly rushed in from the parking lot.
I found it so strange to be there. Believe it or not, I had not visited in 21 years. 21 years. Does that make me old? Don't answer that. The last time I went to the park, it was the day before sixth grade, and my family had a BLAST.
Walking in, nothing seemed immediately familiar. They had redone so much of the park, even though some rides would stick out in my memory here and there. Much of the park is closed for the winter, so we missed getting the "full" experience.
Rounding out the loop, my eyes settled on a very familiar structure: The Giant Pretzel. I could tell it was slightly different from the one that resided there during my youth. But it flooded me with very fun memories of running around the park on summer days as a kid.
I asked the girls to come stand by the pretzel and take a picture. I noted that somewhere in the oceans of photos at my moms house there was a picture of me with my sisters on a Dutch Wonderland Giant Pretzel.
Today, my sister sent me this picture:
Something about seeing these pictures side by side, taken 21 years apart, warmed my soul. I love that my daughters can tread on the very same paths I have. By living where I grew up, our histories are intertwined in a unique way, and I cherish that.
As I reflect this Motivation Monday on the ways my daughter's histories can mirror mine, I am motivated to find more ways to experience the same experiences. What other ways can I share my past with them in hopes of strengthening their future and our relationships? Treading the same paths makes me excited and motivated to be a better mom.
How can you share your history with your kids?
I'd love to hear from you - so leave a comment below!
(And yes, I'm the weird one flying in the center of the pretzel)
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