But it's not the whole spoiled romantic weekend that is gnawing at me. I am disappointed that we didn't get to spend the night in the hotel room that I had reserved, or that I never got to give her the games that I bought and wrapped in hand made wrapping papers (I still can't find the receipt to return the games, so here they sit underneath my desk). I'm disappointed that I never got to give her the love notes and letter that I spent hours crafting and composing, or the (50 Shades inspired) passion contracts that I have since torn into a hundred shredded pieces.
But all of that add up to just that, disappointment. I am accustomed to that, and will mend the sadness in time.
What I cannot seem to let go of, is the anger of not getting to see the movie that I had planned to see, and looked forward to watching, with Karen. Most people would say that there is an easy and simple solution to that; just take her to go see the movie again. But this is where my odd quirkiness comes into play. I set an expectation, and a plan to see that movie WITH her. Seeing, and experiencing the moments for the first time together.
I know that I am odd that way, but I can't help it. I'd rather not see the movie at all, than to have to sit there knowing that she is watching everything again. It takes the newness, and anything that makes that moment special, away from it.
I don't do sloppy seconds. Ever. With anything. While I'm on the topic, let's just cover what all that can entail.
- I don't watch movies at the theater with people that have already seen the movie. The magic of the moment is already gone for them, and it diminishes my ability to enjoy the movie.
- I don't go to places that I have built up pre-conceived hopes and expectation of visiting, with people that have gone to that place before me (For the same reason). The newness of exploring that place is gone from the eyes and face of the person who has been there, and it steals from my ability to enjoy exploring that place for the first time myself.
I'm not the only one who feels this way, even if other's don't realize it, or won't admit it.
Let me share some examples of why I feel this way about seeing things for the first time together or not at all:
For over a decade, Karen refused to go with me to The Magic House (St Louis Children's Museum); because when we first started dating I had taken a friend and her two young boys to the Magic House when their father flaked out and bailed on them at the last minute.
We finally went as a family, just two years ago,; because the kids really wanted to go to the Magic House. I was excited to take them, the kids were excited to be there, but I noticed a look on Karen's face every time she recognized that I had seen something before or mentioned the way I "remembered" it being the last time I was there. The experience wasn't new for me, and the fact that we weren't exploring it for the first time, together, stole some of the magic away form her visit.
Just this past October, we went to Orlando, Florida with the kids and Jo Ann. Karen and I were at Universal Studios 10 years ago. Although we had fun, it wasn't the same amazing and magical experience that I remembered the first time I had been with her that last time. Fortunately, the park was different enough in 2005, from when Karen had been there as a kid, that it was all new to her too. Keeping in mind the Magic House experience, I tried to focus on not spoiling the new experience for the kids. We explored everything together, as if it were the first time. Had I been on the other side of that coin, I don't think it would have been the same for me.
I noticed this same effect, when we went to Disney Magic Kingdom, the next day. Even though it has been many years since Karen last visited Disney's Magic Kingdom, the park has not changed very much over the past 10, 15, or even 20 years. While I and the kids were busy being super excited to explore a place we had never seen before, Karen often had a less than enthusiastic attitude to many of the attractions and rides. A few of them, she didn't even bother to go on with the rest of the family. I realize that she was tired from the previous day, but it was obvious that she didn't have the same enthusiasm that the rest of us wanted to have because she had been there before and had seen the places before. She even admitted as much, when I was excited to go on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Karen didn't ride, because she had been on it before years before.
- Space Mountain: Karen didn't ride, because she had been on it before yeas before.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine train: None of us got to ride it (not a priority). been done before, didn't remember it being all that great.
- It's a Small World: Rode as a family. (play by play commentary as to what was coming up at each turn)
- Jungle Cruise: Rode as a Family. (No enthusiasm, because it was the same as the last time it was rode years before)
- Wishes Fireworks Display at the end of the Night: Everyone else wanted to go before it was even over. It wasn't new to everybody, so the wonder of what I was seeing for the first time was not shared.
Please don't get me wrong. I am very thankful for the opportunity to take my children on this wonderful trip of a lifetime. It was an absolutley AMAZING trip and WEEK (even with the kids being tired, and all of the bickering)
The "Magic," of visiting Disney's Magic Kingdom, was stolen from my first visit, and was not so very magical as I had hoped and dreamed; because it wasn't the first time for everyone there. It was a fun day, but it wasn't magical like it could have been. Like I had always dreamed it would be.
Disney's Magic Kingdom has long been a bucket list item for me, and it didn't live up to my expectations because the shared newness and magic of seeing it for the first time together was not there for everyone that went.
I'll never visit another bucket list location, with a person that has recently been to that location, again.
I may go somewhere where the last time they have been was YEARS before, where that place has changed quite a bit over time (like Six Flags over Mid America); but I don't want any more repeats of the magic House or Disney's Magic Kingdom.
Then again, as I get older in life, I am learning that many of my bucket list places to see and explore will never get checked off. I'm just never going to have the time or opportunity.
My Unexplored Bucket List Places: (In no specific order)
- Greece (the Ancient ruins)
- NY, New York (One World Trade Center, Times Square, The Brooklyn Bridge, The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Hard Rock Cafe NY, and the two biggest on my list... *****The Empire State Building, and *****The 911 Memorial and World Trade Center reflecting pools)
- Yosemite National Park
- Yellow Stone National Park
- Niagra Falls
- Historic Boston, MA
- Historic Philadelphia (Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House, Franklin Square, Liberty Bell)
- Salem, MA (Witch Trials locations)
- Washington DC (I'd love to see the Cherry Blossoms) - Smithsonian, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial, Vietnam Wall, Korean War Monument,
- Cancun, Mexico - Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza and the Yucatan Peninsula
- Las Vegas, NV
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Biltmore estates (Asheville, NC)
- The Pacific Ocean (Not 100% sure where I want to see it from - Los Angelas, San Francisco, Long Beach, Santa Monica... ?)
- Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History
- New Orleans, LA (French Quarter, maybe Mardi Gras, Haunted tours)