Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lessons Learned from The Most Magical Place on Earth

October has descended upon us. Halloween is just around the corner. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are in the hands of everyone, not just cliched fashion bloggers, trust me! I've been pretty quiet around these parts because September just totally kicked my butt. Between my "catfishing" issues and student privacy problems, I was feeling pretty beat down by the blog. Add to that "real" responsibilities, like shaping and molding the minds of the future and chaperoning the sophomore class homecoming float, and I was just too stretched to blog. Not to mention "real-real" responsibilities like raising a child and washing clothes (sometimes) and cooking meals (rarely in September) bearing down on me. Sometimes life just gets to be too much.

In the midst of all that, I was also planning a huge surprise trip to Disney for my son and my nephew. I've known about it for months now and have been keeping it a secret. Not an easy thing to do! Every night leading up to the big trip, I was out at the homecoming float site, trying to stay out of the way of twenty super-competitive sophomores.After working all day, followed up by a 3:00 PM- 8:00 PM shift at the float, I collapsed into bed, no energy to do anything other than sleep. I am a super planner and early packer, but I literally found myself throwing clothes haphazardly into a suitcase while Curtis was packing up the back of the van. I've never felt so unprepared for something I've been planning for months. Well, except maybe my wedding, but that's a story for a different blog post!

By most accounts my trip to Disney would have been considered a total disaster. It was unbearably hot and muggy, except on the 4 straight days that it monsooned on us. If I heard one Orlandoan comment that "It never rains this much", I heard one hundred say it, and the control freak in me was, well, freaking out. None of my FastPasses were for good times or we had to cross over the 2,000 miles of park to get to one attraction to the other. Sean sprained his ankle a few days before we left and walked with a limp that slowed us down considerably. I think by the midpoint of the vacation I had finally calmed down (or given up) enough to enjoy the imperfection of it. I finally realized that the 5-year-old and 6-year-old I was bending over backwards to create the "perfect magical experience" for would never know the amount of stress and planning that went into the trip or have the capacity to understand the stress and planning that went into it. They don't know that they missed certain attractions or shows or parades or fireworks or the extra Halloween party that cost almost $70 a person that I just couldn't afford to get, and you know what? They don't care.

They had an absolute blast. I've never seen my son happier, which is a little sad, or maybe that just means we need to move to Disney World? My nephew was thrilled with everything, though he much preferred the "Frozen' sing-along to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. They met so many characters, and because we were celebrating both of their October birthdays and both were wearing big "Happy Birthday" buttons, approximately one million people wished them happy birthday. Y'all, MICKY MOUSE, sang "Happy Birthday" to my child at the Magic Kingdom! I don't know how that slightly creepy, animatronic, speaking costume worked, but I had tears in my eyes as it conversed with my slightly amazed, slightly freaked out child. It was truly one of the most magical moments of my life, maybe not of his life, but definitely in the top ten of mine!

I've never actually seen the movie "Frozen", blasphemy I know, but I think I kinda understand the whole "Let It Go" mentality. I may not be able to create frozen castles or anything cool like that with my magical fractal fingertips, but I was able to let go and enjoy the little  moments. No matter how imperfect they seemed to ME, it was magical and perfect for them. I learned a lot of lessons from my trip to Disney: always pack EXTRA ponchos, don't play around with those FastPass reservations, expect EVERYTHING to take TWICE as long as you planned, your kids won't like thrill rides or ice cream, and they will want every souvenir they see. But I also learned that a little magic goes a long way and that you are never too old to experience some fairy dust-infused magic. I've learned to appreciate the perfection that can be found in the imperfections of life.

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