We start thinking of Christmas - past and present.
Then there's the New Year coming just a week after Christmas. We look behind us at the year just past. We look ahead to the year coming along the horizon.
For me, I think I'm merely catching up on all the thoughts that have been wandering around my brain during the pre-holiday and holiday season.
This year, for the second year in a row, we gave the grands a memory gift. This time a trip to Legoland in Toronto. Since the two grandsons love their lego blocks, I thought this would be right up their alley. The granddaughter I wasn't so sure of.
And again, the other side of the gift was a kid-free day for my daughter and son-in-love.
There was no Aunty this time, as she opted to stay in Western Canada because of the high cost of air fare. So it was just Grammy, Papa and two grands.
Two grands? What happened to the third?
The youngest has been having a hard time (it's hard to be six) and didn't come with us. Which meant my daughter and son-in-love didn't get their present of a kid free day. First oops!
Actually, the first oops was that looking at Legoland on the net, I saw that they had guaranteed entry - non refundable and non transferable - tickets which I bought.
I shoulda known better. Remember how I've mentioned in the past about having a plan B? Well this kind of ticket didn't leave me any wriggle room when things started not going according to plan. The first indication this might be like trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole was when both of us got sick with the "cold that doesn't leave" followed by the youngest grand having a very bad, horrible, no good day. Changing our plans to another day was not an option. We were locked not only into a certain day but also a certain time. If we didn't go, we lost the money. Period. We were committed.
Since we couldn't devise a plan B, the next option on my list - going with the flow - came into play. Also, don't sweat the small stuff.
Legoland is for children. No two ways about it. In fact, adults can only gain entrance in the presence of one or more children.
The pictures on the left are all of the first room we entered. In some ways, I think it was my favourite. It was colourful, small and had different displays of legos.
Right off the bat, I discovered the first drawback to Legoland - or should I say going there as an emotionally damaged person. People. Tons of them. All over the place. Careening around. Even the adults. Walking directly in front of the camera.
Yet, I was still able to chill - and go with the flow. Even if the flow was a bunch of humanity of all sizes, shapes, ages and descriptions.
Next in line, was a ride where you rode around in cars for four with laser guns and shot at the "bad guys". My little laser light quivered all over the place but I did manage to get a little over 1000 points which I considered good ... until I looked around and saw that Papa had gotten over 7,000, my 9 year old grandson had gotten over 12,000 and the little lady, the demure little girl, had gotten over 14,000.
The ride is not compulsory, there is a pathway around it which a lot of people took, but I wanted to experience it all - and so did the grands.
To me, it was "grand" day. Their desires were at the top of the list. They mattered. It was all about them. As I think it should be. After all, it's their Christmas present.
After the ride, we walked down a hallway which said "To Toronto" and entered a small room which - you guessed it - was full of lego recreations of Toronto.
I think that was my next favourite part of the place. Except for the constant flow of people walking in front of the camera. it was a photographer's paradise.
Yet, none of that seemed to bother the grands. It seems like they were caught up in the wonder of it all. Not quite like little kids at Christmas, but almost.
I don't know about them, but I've never seen anything like this.
I was amazed.
This room was almost like going through a museum. A museum of lego structures of Toronto.
There was the CN Tower and other recognizable buildings in the downtown core. The harbour front was also represented with a lighthouse.
We followed the flow and entered the last - and largest - room in Legoland. I don't know if I would call it a play room, activity room or what. There are different activity centres scattered around - and off - this large room.
Off to our immediate right as we entered this room was the 4D theatre - which we decided to enjoy immediately. Apparently, there are four movies which are shown in succession. We saw one of the four.
Off to one corner in this larger room is another ride - which the children immediately spotted and wanted to go on. It turns out that only 12 people can go on this ride at a time, so we joined a very slow-moving line up.
And this is where I got to really watch the grands in action and observe their personalities.
They played hand games with each other while waiting. And bonded - with each other.
Usually, with three children they're divided - the boys on one team - and the girl alone. This time, with the two older ones, I saw a vastly different side of their personalities and their relationship. They stayed together. They were a team of two. They were mostly on the same page. They actually seemed to like - and rely - on each other.
Those are the memories I took away with me, the ones I treasure in the "memory album" in my mind.
The way they entered the big room hand in hand wandering around, building racing cars. Almost always together.
Grammy and Papa? Well, I found myself a much needed cup of coffee and a bench to rest my weary bones on. Papa joined me.
|The ride in action|
I hope you enjoy the rest of our memory trip.
Until next year .... may it be full of recovery and good memories to counter the bad stuff life throws at us.
|The ride in resting position.|
|A life-size Santa's sleigh all built in legos|
|The wizard - in the background the ride the children went on|
|The build a racing car station - or controlled chaos as I call it|
|The budding engineer - or race car builder|
|On the way out|
|Bye Toronto! By Legoland!|