Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Transitions--Disney 2014

First of all, I call down all possible blessings on those who invented polartec fleece, those who make it, and those who bring it to us. I bless all the polartecs from which the fleece is sheared. I give thanks for fleece!

If you’re going to spend two days outside (sixty degrees and raining or breezy) while you're sick, you give thanks for what makes it possible. I’m also grateful for ibuprofen and coffee, to be fair.

Seriously, though, fleece is amazing. How does it do it? I think, like Magic Erasers, it’s a miracle I’d better not examine too closely.
What will we find this time?
Our more or less annual trips to Disney have become a benchmark for me, another mark on the wall to measure how the kids are growing. This year, I feel like we saw a big shift toward new territory.

We spent the first day in the Magic Kingdom in the aforementioned cool, rainy weather. I love Disney off season in “bad” weather! We hit fourteen rides in six hours without breaking a sweat—literally, there was no sweating. None of that horrendously irritating, I’m-a-giant-sticky-magnet-for filth, end of the day at the park feeling. Yay!

Plus no lines—we barely waited for anything. Yay! And there was the added bonus of seeing all the tour groups and family reunions in giant WDW-issue ponchos instead of perky t-shirts. (Don’t get me wrong, if I ever get a large group together a Disney, I want obnoxious t-shirts!) But the herds of people in white or yellow ponchos sloshing through the rain looked oddly surreal. It was fun.

What else was fun? We sat behind three couples, grandparent types, in the Tiki Room. Based on their sports shirts and VFW caps, they were from Ohio. I’d bet anything they’d never been to Disney before. Watching their faces as each animatronic gimmick appeared was PRICELESS! May we all still be open to delighted surprise throughout our lives.
We made a friend!
Delighted surprise brings us back to how much the kids have grown. Big A. and I give thanks daily for the amazing things they do for themselves—amazing because we no longer have to do them. I actually achieved my goal of being able to say, “Go shower and get into clean clothes” at the end of the day and having them do it! This. Is. A. Miracle.

We also loved the fact that all of us ran out of energy out at the same time. We all looked at each other and said, “Let’s go” at the same time. Sweet!

Tired, they still made it through dinner gracefully. They slept without that frantic, over-tired, toddler fighting sleep stage. They woke up in mostly one piece. Wow!

Of course, there’s a flip side. Both the kids look older these days. When you live with kids every day, you know that sometimes they just age six months in one week. We’ve had that here just now. I can see the shapes of the teenagers they’ll become peeking out from under the children they are. It’s beautiful and terrifying and I want to freeze time.
Seriously--does he look just barely 6.25?
I love the camaraderie our family has developed, but I do miss the wide-eyed wonder of small children seeing the “magic” of Disney the first time. Little A. has almost passed through the “terrified of characters” stage. He decided to go ahead and stand next to Belle for a picture. And he was so happy he did! S. has gotten nearly too cool for school—she’s trying hard not to smile in half the pictures. Luckily, she still has the smile inside.
Granted, we all felt that way about the ice, but just the fact that she can MAKE that face.....
And, having inspired nine- to thirteen-year-old girls to sing “Gray Squirrel” and “The Skunk Song,” I am having none of that. Girlfriend WILL have fun, or I’ll know why! I mean that in the most loving, healthy, balanced way possible.

Little A. still has his impossible moments, especially when he’s beyond tired, but he’s really getting a handle on it. I’m so impressed! And we found out in Animal Kingdom that he’s really interested in reptiles and fish. He wants to learn to take care of them. How cool is that?

All in all, our time at Disney highlighted the year’s changes and gave our family a fantastic couple of days to be with each other. That’s all the magic we need!
As long as they always know they can fly!

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