A Lifetime of “The Magic Kingdom” and the “Brother/Uncle” Dynamic

As a kid, two of my favorite places were Dodger stadium, and Disneyland.  I grew up in Huntington Beach, California and lived a short distance from both of my favorite places.  Visiting Disneyland was always a magical place for me and I have very fond memories of my times there.  I also had the opportunity to take my sons to both Disneyland and Disney World.  We also had fond memories of our visits there.  I remember how excited Ryan was when he got to pull the sword out of the rock at the King Arthur show.  Now, I have had the joy of sharing Disney World with Sebellah and Allene.

These past three days at Disney World has been a lot of fun, although hot, humid and exhausting as well.  We spent a part of a day at the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom.  I believe that the Magic Kingdom was Sebellah’s favorite.  We were not so sure how she would do on the rides, but she loved them and wanted to do more.  Jeremiah and Kristen, as well as, Kamdyn, are quite the Disney World experts and helped us get the most out of our short stay here.  They left this morning, to return home to Tennessee.  We had a great time hanging out with them, although it was a little tight in our motorhome.  Four adults and three children and one bathroom, is a little challenging, but we made it work.

There is an interesting dynamic that we experience and this week is a good example of when it really comes into play.  Allene and I joke with her son Jake, and call him, “Brother/Uncle”.  It is a joke and yet, there is a real dynamic that we experience related to having children now that are a part of two generations.  We have five grandchildren, and we are raising one of them, Sebellah.  The reality is that the time and energy that it is required in providing for Sebellah does affect the time and energy that we have to grandparent our other four grandchildren.  The week as we shared the “Happiest Place On Earth”, which is really Disneyland, but I guess that Walt would be okay applying it to the Orlando property as well, we were operating as both parents and grandparents.  We were in the role of parent with Sebellah, 3 and 1/2 yr-old and grandparents to Kamdyn and Evie, 5 yr-old and 18 months.  Our adult children have been very supportive of what we are doing and we greatly appreciate that, but the reality is that our parenting of Sebellah does take away from what we can offer their children.  On the other side of this dynamic is the reality that we have a similar and shared experience of parenting along side of our own children.  One thing that does help is that we do talk openly with our children about our experience and even the reality of this dynamic that we are discussing here.  It does help to openly talk about it.  It is always beneficial to have an open line of communication with those who are involved in our world, as we take this journey together.

So, I hope that you enjoy a few pictures of our experience at Disney World.  Tomorrow, we are off to Camp Gulf in Destin, Florida for 5 days at the beach.  The next part of our adventure.

Sharing the Journey,

Rich, “Pops”


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I have been involved in the field of Human Services for 30 plus years. I teach in the field of Human Services for Purdue University Global. Allene is a stay at home "Lolli", after spending many years in the Healthcare field. We have 3 adult children and in May, 2018, we adopted our granddaughter, who is 6 years-old. We have had her since she was 5 months old. At the end of 2019, we moved to Mount Airy, North Carolina, as a part of a plan to downsize and give Allene the chance to retire, and be at home full-time. We are devoted to making a difference in Sebellah's life and also in the lives of other grandparents raising grandchildren.

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