I don’t even know the origin. Maybe it was my missing father. Or being the middle child of five kids? 1,000 things. I think it’s all part of me feeling invisible every now and then. Which if that sounds absurd to you, by all means, tell me. Sometimes I can see I’m wrong, but mostly I need to be shown I’m wrong, even if I have to show myself. I show it to myself in vivid color.
There’s just something about being away. Maybe it’s about not having all of your right things in all of their right places. Maybe it’s about balancing the needs of parents and siblings, and later on in life, of spouses and children. Maybe it’s about compromising and losing your already low voice against the high pitches of the rest. Maybe it’s about humidity and different water and how your hair never looks as good when you’re on vacation, does it? Unless you’re in California, of course.
This is another tale to tell, though, of a two hour flight rather than a six hour one. This story is about Florida and beaches (still to come on that one) and Harry Potter land and going through “It’s a Small World” at least twice. Maybe three times.
It’s very calming. And how about the Country Bear Jamboree? We’re all aware by now that it’s completely full of sexual jokes, right? I can’t believe I didn’t catch on as a kid, but I suppose furry singing bears don’t seem so suspect at first glance.
And you know about the anxiety I can have? Well you may or may not be surprised to find out that it was nonexistent at Disney World, even for 13 hours among zillions of people. And crowded, smelly monorails. Did I mention that kids (not mine) puke at theme parks? And the loud noises and lack of being able to escape. You’d think I’d have been shaking in a corner, but my anxiety has no interest in Disney World. It rather likes the cool breezes (in January, anyway) and the soothing train rides.
I never thought I’d go to Disney World as an adult. I don’t love crowds or fake dreams. Only, they’re not so fake after all. You know what I do love? Happy and healthy kids. The ones I carry away from their schools, in my arms, on the day before vacation. It’s true that I remember my childhood best friend being whisked away from school and onward to Disney World via Newark Airport in a stretch limo. I always thought that was the jackpot of all winter Northeast childhood experiences. Only, maybe it’s about style and substance. It’s the way I whisked Scarlet away and she got to say profuse goodbyes to her teachers and friends. We walked away, in our victory march, to a chorus of, “Bye, Scarlet! We’ll miss you, Scarlet! Say hi to Mickey for me, Scarlet! Don’t forget the princesses, Scarlet! You’re lucky, Scarlet! Lucky.” I don’t think she’ll ever forget that.
That’s really what it’s about sometimes. Whatever you dream about – princesses and dragons, warm and sunny beaches, or the wizarding world of Harry Potter. For me? It’s all of the above. Plus a LOT more. And I felt very lucky for our trip.
Who doesn’t go to Disney World and not feel a little weird/gassy/nostalgic/irritated/something? The bottom line is that you feel something. I felt so much. And the people who work at Disney World are PROS. They will single you out. They will single your kid out. They will make you feel like the only person out of thousands. This is planned but it is magic. Planned magic.
In college, I did a 12 page paper on Walt Disney’s life and vision for my Film Genres class. I wrote it the morning it was due and got an A+. I was so immersed in the research leading up to the due date and the day I actually wrote the paper, and the reading was weeks-long. I think Disney’s original vision was stunning, and I understand it, as a lost girl. He was a lost boy searching for a perfect world. You can’t get that in this world of darkness and light, but darnit, you can make a theme park.
And you can attend that theme park. Or you don’t have to either if it’s not your bag, baby! I seriously never thought I would, but here I am with a two-year-old, a five-year-old, and a slew of generous relatives who have made all of this possible for us.
To go to this totally strange world of winter warmth and made up stories and never knowing what to tell her about it all. Princesses are real. Bad guys are not? That doesn’t seem right. I want to tell her more than this. About how it’s not black and white, and that we all contain some dark, and we all contain some light, and somehow it meets in the middle.
And that we still can find romantic love, and it’s a messy kind of love, and you can be in love more than once. You can be in love more than once, at the same time. Messy, messy. And through beauties and beasts, and beastly beauties, and beautiful beasts, somewhere, somehow, it’s a bit astounding what’s real and what’s in front of you. Better than this, for sure:
It’s a bit funny having her believe that she could go into the water and wind up with fins. It’s a bit funny, but that’s life with a five-year-old. There are so many stories and some of them.. are ridiculous. And one day she’ll know she won’t grow fins.
And it’s TOTALLY weird that she believes that villains are real, and somehow they’re in Orlando, Florida right with us and somehow we let her go to a place that has Maleficent and we’re all smiling and laughing as if we’re all safe. Because we are.
In my fairy tale, I let go of my anxiety and I feel like I’m flying. I stand back just to enjoy the kids’ enjoyment, but I also remember to put down the camera, my shield, and to step into the bright light and let what will come… just come.