There I was. Again. Standing in the flurry that was the last hour of the Disneyland day, staring at the shelves and racks of all things Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, trying to decide upon the thing. The one thing that I could take with me to hold on to. To keep on my desk. To hang on a wall or wear on my head. To keep in my heart and mind this moment and place that has come to mean so very much to me.
I'm the guy who is always telling my son that we have enough stuff. We live in a house filled with so much stuff that we routinely have to sell, give away or simply throw out things to make room for the bits and pieces, the reminders, of our lives. Three humans and a dog and their various accouterments have filled the storage capacity of our home several times over in the past fourteen years, and now I want to bring more home with me? From a theme park? How can I possibly reconcile that?
Mark Trail taught me that we should leave only footprints and take only memories. It's a lovely aphorism, and a sentiment that I want desperately to abide by, but there I was, standing in that brightly lit fortress of consumerism, wishing that there was some little piece of my summer vacation that I could take home. That's when I remembered: My son's smile. For the longest time, and I can say this because we have been making a nearly annual pilgrimage to the Happiest Place On Earth since my son was born, I have taken profound joy upon entering the Magic Kingdom: We go to the left, through the tunnel, and out onto Main Street. Then I turn and look at my son's face. I love that smile. I have decided to take that home with me.