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“Take the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. At least it’s done. It’s over. It’s gone. We can all learn from our mistakes and heal and move on. But it’s harder to learn or heal or move on from something that hasn’t happened; something we don’t know and is therefore indefinable; something which could very easily have been the best thing in our lives, if only we’d taken the plunge, if only we’d held our breath and stood up and done it, if only we’d said yes.” ~ Danny WallaceYes Man

As my “Yes Experiment” began to wind down in “The Villages” part of our vacation, I began to look at what my Yeses had accomplished up to that point.

My Yeses in the airport resulted in a happy 10-year-old who’s mom confirmed his opinion that the tater tots he had for dinner were in deed the best tater tots he had ever eaten. My Yes to McKenna that involved buying a book in the airport store, resulted in the purchase of a book that she and I thoroughly enjoyed and have now passed on and recommended to my mother, sister, and mother-in-law. We all also learned about the airports new Read and Return programs where one can return the book that you bought back to another participating airport store after you have read it, and receive 50 percent of the purchase price back in cash. And the Yes to Shea in that same store revealed to him that you better think carefully about how you choose to spend your money because that $5 spend on the squiggly toys was definitely not worth not being able to buy an extra $5 memento in Universal.

Then there were the Yeses in The Villages. I had a nice walk/jog with Max, and we chatted and bonded, and planned to do more of these “workouts” together when we got home. I swam with kids, enjoyed a game of pickleball, and once again saw Shea’s face light up when he was allowed to purchase a leather Alabama bracelet and Alabama sunglasses (with his own money, of course).

Another Yes, resulted in secret glances and seductive eyebrow raises between Mark and I for the rest of the trip, and Yeses involving our itinerary that occurred before we even got to The Villages resulted in a fun afternoon of golf with Mark, Dad, Mom and I, an exciting afternoon of polo, where once again the kids were reminded of what chuckers were, how to stomp divots, and to always avoid the “steaming divot” (Max was much more successful with that this year than last).

And if I hadn’t said yes to a dinner show to celebrate our last evening in The Villages we never would have gotten to see the likes of Tammy Winet, Patsy Cline, Elton John, Sonny & Cher, Elvis, and Lady Gaga, among others, entertaining the sold-out crowd at the legendary Katie Belles in Spanish Springs.

Lady Gaga 🙂

Dad and me in a very rare picture together.

Kenna got to enjoy both her Grandma and Mima in Florida, due to Grandma saying Yes to coming to visit us all in Florida, and Mima and Papa's Yes to having Grandma join us in the first place.

Shea was very happy when I said yes to dessert: warm apple pie, ice cream, and whipped cream.

Most of us were smiling that night.

Armed with the product of my Village Yeses, I prepared for two and half days of Yes at Universal Studios Orlando. I knew the parks would be a treasure trove of, well treasures, for my kids to take home, so I decided to modify my Yeses when it came to money. Unlimited yeses were not a possibility on this trip. I did, however, decided that I would say Yes to every request to experience a new adventure with my kids at least once. Yes, that meant getting on every attraction regardless of how scary or nausea-inducing it was, and enjoy the ride (literally and figuratively). And except for one No from both Mark and me to avoid one of the water-soaking attractions, I was able to do just that (I did remedy that No though by going on the next ride, that drenched me 10 times more the one I had said, “No” to). Ahh, sweet revenge from the Yes Gods.

YES, I was drenched after one of my Yeses.

And YES Shea and Kenna were soaked, too!

And I have to say, my positive attitude paid off. We all had a blast. We rode the Harry Potter ride twice, and when it broke down the second time leaving us stranded and strapped in in the middle of the action for 5 minutes, that Yes attitude stayed with me, and I accepted the experience as just another funny anecdote to tell when we got home. I rode the Hippogriff coaster, and flew on the Dragon coaster, bought some sour suckers from Honeydukes Candy store, enjoyed an English Breakfast and the Three Broomsticks, and tried my first Butter Beer. Yum!

Butterbeer mustaches for everyone!

I also visited Olivanders Wand Shop, and said, “Yes” to anyone who wanted to purchase a wand, which McKenna and Shea took me up on later that day in a different store. I braved the giant coasters — The Hulk, Rip Ride Rockit, and more — which absolutely intimidated me, and experienced an incredible thrill right along with my kids and husband, although once was definitely enough for me.

A YES to Max had the two of us posing for a photo with Woody Woodpecker.

My favorite Yeses, resulted in two trips on the Spider Man ride, two incredibly cute kids having their faces panted, a family caricature for our house, and meeting up with two women from Maine and there incredible boys who immediately became part of our unforgettable Universal experience, and hopefully, part of lives.

So what did I learn about becoming Yes Mom for eleven days?

  1. Some yeses to children have to come in limited doses or one will go broke in only a matter of days.
  2. Some no(s) are meant to keep them safe and following the rules/law and cannot be avoided. (i.e. No Max, you cannot drive the golf cart around The Villages, the rules are you have to be 14.)
  3. A simple yes to tasting a tater tot, going for a walk, riding a much-dreaded roller coaster, or letting your child play in a water fountain fully clothed can leave a lasting smile on a child’s face (and yours) for days.
4. The more parents take risks by saying Yes, the more their children will too. (This was proved by McKenna who feared two coasters, but braved them both, and proclaimed the scariest of them all, The Rip Ride Rockit, one of her favorite rides of all, braving it approximately six more times in one day!
5. Our kids are much more open to YES than we are, and we could learn a lot from them in that area.
6. Saying yes to experiences with your children is so much more rewarding than saying no.

*** And on a side note: Saying yes more will most definitely improve your relationship with your spouse or significant other.