When I was younger, I spent this one summer with my grandmother. While I was there for the summer, my mom made plans to come and take my cousin and I to Dorney Park for an outing. Dorney Park is an amusement park in Allentown, PA, and it was essentially WONDERLAND to the local kids of my generation. It had roller coasters AND a huge water park. My cousin and I were ecstatic!! We were so excited to go to Dorney that we counted down the days, repeatedly prayed for good weather, and even made up a song to sing on the way there. I still remember the lyrics to the song we made up, and I can still feel the anticipation of going that I had... almost 30 years ago. That was definitely a highlight of my childhood.
So, about two weeks ago, I decided that my family would go to Dorney Park for Father’s Day. We were going to have a fun-filled family day, they would be super excited, and it was going to be magical! $332 later... we’ve got tickets to the greatest place on earth, says my childhood self. That night, I gather the troops around to share the news.
“OK guys, I have a surprise. Guess… where… we are going for Father’s Day”.
Silence and stares.
Ok. Let me just dive in then: “DORNEY PARK!!!!”
There was more silence, before a pity smile or two emerged. Then a voice from the crowd said, and I quote: “Word.”
Everyone awkwardly scattered to return to their bedtime routine.
Word?? WORD?!?! Dorney Park is the Pennsylvania version of Disney World, with the Disney World-ish hit to my pockets. In fact, I’m pretty sure that was the transaction that threw my account into the negative that week, and all I get is a.... “Word”?! My kids are THE MOST nonchalant, unimpressed set of kids that I have ever seen in my life. I was disappointed, and my feelings were hurt. How could kids who aren’t even afforded many opportunities be unimpressed with Dorney Park? When did amu$ement park$ lose their thrill?! I’ll tell you when… ever since this social media obsessed, iGen generation emerged, growing up with the virtual world at their fingertips. They are able to see the world through other people’s Snap Chat, visiting distant lands through IG stories. They are one finger click away from their favorite “untouchable” celebrity. This has desensitized them to normal excitement! These kids aren’t impressed with Dorney Park!!! They want to ride camels through the deserts of Dubai.
Once we got to Dorney, of course the boys were excited. The rainy day made for short lines, and a Father’s Day buffet was included with our ticket. It was a parent win, honestly. My mind kept subconsciously trying to balance their enthusiasm, with my negative bank account. Until I realized, maybe Dorney Park wasn't really for them. It was actually for me. I had my own attachment to the experience that I wanted to re-live almost 30 years later. So, I didn’t need them to be “excited”. I needed them to be there for the new memories.
Oh... and the father on Father’s Day had fun too.