I’m not sure who threw out the idea, but a while ago, we started floating the idea around of taking Hallie to Six Flags Magic Mountain for her 18th birthday. As the idea evolved she talked about inviting a few friends – but never really settled on a guest list. Her birthday grew closer and closer and finally we needed to decide whether or not a trip to Six Flags was her main birthday gift. Hallie was confident she wanted this for her birthday (regardless of never having been on a large roller coaster except space mountain at Disneyland). I kept wanting her to nail down a date and who she was taking – we told them we would drive them over and pick up the hotels but they would need to pay for their park tickets – and that was much harder for her than I could have ever imagined. She has so many great friends – limiting it to who could fit in our car was rough.

With crazy schedules, this was a last minute decision and I wondered who would be able to leave on a 72-hour notice and on top of that miss a day of school. Surprisingly Hallie had no problem filling our car and she was so bummed to not extend the invitation a little further. With just 24 hours notice, she threw the invitation out to a larger group with the caveat that someone would need to drive another car and within minutes they had a driver and another car was full!

It was the fastest 34 hour roadtrip and we spent more time in the car driving to and from California than we did in the park – but neither Steve or I would have traded that time for anything.

We ended up with 12 seniors – 7 girls and 5 boys and they had the time of their lives. When I played this trip out in my mind, Steve and I would end up spending a day in the park together while the kids ran themselves ragged. I thought the group would break up and go their separate directions. But that was so far from reality. We were with them every step of the way and they wanted to stay all together. The park was empty so we jumped on ride after ride after ride with no wait in between and I quickly realized a little wait between rides isn’t so bad – it gives your stomach time to settle.

After an hour and a half I was feeling my age! But with age comes wisdom and wisdom helps you know your limits. I could take a break from a ride – but those teenagers were not going to miss out even if it meant dry heaving in the bushes on the way to the next ride!

There was only one ride I wouldn’t ride and that was Crazanity. We had just come off Riddler and I saw that spinning ride and I knew my stomach couldn’t handle it at that moment. When we made our way to all the rides a second time later in the day it had shut down. I wasn’t terribly disappointed.

We rode all the rides multiple times and we spent the last 45 minutes in the park sprinting from one ride to the next just to see how many we could fit in before our dream of a trip ended. It was the best day. The only downside was having to hop in a car and drive the 6.5 hours home after an exhausting day in the park.

It was the perfect day and it felt like a total dream These kids were so much fun and we count ourselves lucky for having gone on this trip with them. Towards the end of the day, one of Hallie’s best friends asked if I would be her partner on the next ride – I happily obliged. As we are giggling and screaming our way through the ride I felt so much gratitude for so many daughters. I may not have birthed them, but I treat them as my own and love them all so dearly.

I have a feeling we just created a new tradition for 18th birthdays!