For Spring Break, John and I decided to surprise the children with a trip to Orlando, Florida. Ambitiously, we wanted to keep the destination a secret until we actually arrived outside of the gate of the first theme park. We knew that it was an unlikely scenario as our three offspring are very perceptive, sort of like an adolescent CSI team who can sniff out a hidden box of Cheese Nips or discover an imminent trip to the dentist despite concerted attempts at concealment.
Who knew that it would be so easy to deceive them, to fool these little children in the same way we used to years ago when we told white lies about the bedtime hour when they couldn’t tell time. (“I know it’s still daylight outside, but my watch says that it’s 8:00. It’s reeeallly late.” And then John and I would watch the 7 o’clock news in blissful quiet.)
The story (lie) told to our trusting trio was that we were going to go to the beach for a couple of days over the break. We loaded up in the car for the 8-hour drive, explaining that we would break up the trip with an overnight stay in a hotel in Florida. All went well as we unloaded later that night, checked into our hotel and woke early the next morning for the supposed last leg of our trip to the beach.
Heads buried in game devices, none of the three noticed the overwhelming number of signs that screamed all things Orlando. Neon lights announcing the approach of our first destination, Universal Studios, were also missed as Mario took precedence over the revealing surroundings.
As we entered the parking garage, my husband said that we were making a quick stop for coffee. No one said much as handheld games were paused and we exited the car.
The juvenile version of CSI did not think it odd as we traveled on moving sidewalks for several hundred yards. Intuition was not perked as they saw for the first time signs pointing towards encroaching theme parks. My oldest investigator, Chase, even rolled his eyes as I complained to my husband the inconvenience we were all experiencing just for a jolt of caffeine.
As we made our way to the entrance of Islands of Adventure, one of two theme parks located in Universal, Chandler, our nine year old, finally commented, “This place looks awesome! Can you get us some tickets so that we can come back someday?”
It was then that we told them of our deception, relishing in their squeals as they jumped up and down with joy.
Soon after, they handed in their CSI badges, accepting with reluctance that their parents had finally trumped their keen, investigative skills. Not only did it provide us both with enormous parental satisfaction, but restored lost hope that we might once again mislead them about the hour of bedtime.