It’s a Small World…..Give it Your Best

One thing you do a lot of when you visit the Mouse House and its many parks is walk.  And stand in line.  A lot.

One morning we were trying to fit in as much as we could before “hopping” over to another park where we had plans to eat.  Our older girls, Aub and her friend, were off and running.  They were trying to get in line for the Dwarves’ Mine Train before the line got too long.  They waited only an hour–ONLY.  And unfortunately they really didn’t feel it was worth the wait, like, say Space Mountain was.  Nevertheless they can say they rode it while it was still pretty new.

20140703-235719-86239514.jpg20140703-235719-86239120.jpg20140703-235719-86239948.jpg20140703-235718-86238730.jpg20140703-235720-86240407.jpg

The Fella and I wanted to take the littles on “It’s a Small World” ride.  I mean, how could we go all that way and NOT go on that one?  Such a sweet ride, and the sign outside said a 20 or 25 minute wait.  We looked and it seemed to be moving, so we decided to go for it.

We visited and talked and people-watched.  I have to say that my crew were troopers as far as the waiting game went.  Not that they weren’t begging us to fast pass everything and quite excited when we came upon a ride with virtually no line, but yes, they did really well waiting.  As we were about to board one of the little boats, I saw a gentleman who had come in on a wheelchair struggling to get up.  One of the park employees (ummm, “cast members”) went over and offered to assist.  She assured him he could ride in his chair and that she would get him up in the line so he wouldn’t have to wait any longer.  He very kindly waved the thought aside, “No, I want to do this.  I can walk that far.”

Y’all.  Bless him.

Such integrity.  Such willpower.  I don’t know anything else about this man, but I think he’s a good one.  He obviously was struggling to stay on his feet–the wheelchair wasn’t just a cool ride for him–and he was insisting on trying to walk down the dock, so no one else would have to wait to load his chair with him in it.  I wanted to hug him.

Because he gets it.  For as long as he can and as much of the time as he is able, he doesn’t seem to want special favors.

That’s the kind of person who deserves them.  Because he won’t take advantage of the situation.

People who disregard “handicap” parking signs make me crazy.  That’s one of my pet peeves.  Do you have all of your appendages?  Do they work?  Then give thanks and stop trying to take shortcuts.  You are lucky.  LUCKY.  Give thanks, take a deep breath, and park where you’re supposed to.  Some folks have to go through some pretty horrible things to get those permits.  I know I’m fortunate.  It’s not always fun walking in the 107 heat index across a sizzling hot black parking lot to get in and out of somewhere, but I don’t need the space.  And, unfortunately, there is always someone else who does.

I think about that gentleman and wish that I’d pointed him out to my littles.  Not for them to stare, but for them to see someone strong.  Someone trying his best and not making excuses. Someone to respect.

Disabilities are real.  So are physical limitations.  It makes me mad when people try to take advantage of the system.  I have a friend whose physical limitations have prevented him from getting a job.  He has applied for disability benefits but has been told that he doesn’t qualify because he could be an “envelope sealer” or a “nut sorter.” Not joking about those jobs either. They were on the denial letter.  Nuts.  I’ll tell you what’s nuts.  The folks I’ve met who do get disability.  Who can drive all over town and spend hours hanging out with friends, talking, doing crafts, making plans for get togethers, cooking for gatherings.  I’ve even had one person tell me she was going back to school as soon as she gets disability benefits.  I don’t know why she would be approved though.  She seems as capable as I am to hold down a job.  And yet, there are those who cannot work because of health issues or physical limitations who have been denied benefits time after time.

Could it be who your attorney is?  Who you know?  How well you fill out the application?

It must be.  Because nothing else makes sense.  We are paying folks who could at least stand for a few hours as a greeter to stay at home–no, to run around town and visit with friends and family and do just about whatever their finances will allow, while others, who deserve such benefits, are denied over and over again.

*sigh*

I will tell my children about the man rising up out of his wheelchair to walk down the ramp.  I want them to always give something their all–trying their very best in any given situation, no matter how hard.

That’s an important lesson to learn.  And to remember. Ahem.  For all of us.  It is a small world after all, and we need to take care of each other in it.

Love to all.

 

The Sisterhood of Mamas

She rose up from that bed a mother, and ready to fight for the rest of her days.  What does it matter for a woman to give up her self, and live quietly, with the choices she has made?  But when the woman becomes a mother, she can no longer participate in the slow rot.  Because no one’s going to rot the child.  And anyone who tries will suffer the mother’s consequences.” –Lydia Netzer, shine shine shine

 

There is a sisterhood of these women, the ones who rise up from their delivery beds or from the desk where papers were signed, a newly created soul, that of Mama. Fierce and protective and loving and tender. We see each other and nod.  We each make our own choices for these who have been entrusted to us.  But there is a camaraderie that cannot be broken. We need each other.  This came to life for me in the midst of a miserably hot and humid Sunday afternoon.  When my little guy vomited in public.

Cooter was dehydrated, I’m convinced.  We were at the MouseHouse and it had been a busy day, most of it out in the hot, hot sun.  Waiting in line for cool, long-anticipated autographs, standing as the sun beat down on us watching a parade, and walking from one attraction to the other.  Hot.

It was our first day there, so we hadn’t gotten the routine of pouring water down our throats–constantly–down yet.  I had my little guy drinking but I think it was too late.  He was wilting like a petunia in the full sunlight.  Right before my eyes.  I bought a cold drink, and we sat down in the shade.

The Fella took a baby wipe and got it really wet so I could rub Cooter’s neck and forehead with it.  He liked that, but he was still miserable.  He was barely sipping anything.  One Mama with her child looked over and gave me the “I understand” look and told her child they would move to give us more space, since he didn’t feel good.

After getting him to suck on some ice and sip some water, Cooter seemed to be a little better.  We got him to stand up, but no, he wanted to be held.  His Daddy picked him up.  He just melted in the Fella’s arms.

Rather suddenly he scrambled to get down.  The instant his feet hit the ground he was throwing up.  And it wasn’t quiet.  At all.

Oh my.  Bless him.

After I got him settled back down as comfortably as I could with ice and a cool cloth, I set to work using the last of my baby wipes to clean up the “mess.”  And I noticed that the mama/preteen girl pair that had jumped up when it happened were seated back exactly where they had been before.  Fairly close to the EVENT.

I don’t know why exactly but that comforted me.  That put some normalcy in what had happened–no big deal, happens every day, right?

Well maybe not, but it sure helped my feelings.  I leaned over and said, “I am so sorry.  I think he got too hot.  I apologize for this.”

The Mama looked over and smiled, waving her hand.  “I have children too.  It happens. Don’t worry.  Hope he feels better.”

Well I’ll be.

And that.  That is what I’m talking about.  The grace that comes from this sisterhood of one day anticipating the life you carry within, or the child that waits for you at the end of a long labor of paperwork, and the next day the child is in your arms and from that day on–you are the One.  The Mama.  Mother.  Madre.  Mommy.  Mom.  The one who wipes the bottoms and noses.  Who dries the tears.  Who holds the hands.  And who cleans up the vomit.  The one who finds a clean outfit when an accident happens.  And who says, “It will be okay” and sets out to make it so.  The grace that looks another Mama in the store in the eyes and says, “No, you go ahead–my crew are at home today, but I know what it’s like to have one begging for a toy and the other crying from lack of sleep and a third trying to wander off.  I get it.”  The grace that takes another Mama by the hand and says, “I don’t know where this journey is headed, but I’ll walk with you because someone forgot to give any of us the instruction manual.  We’re all winging it around here.”  The grace that doesn’t hear the whining or the tears or screams nearly as much as the child’s Mama does because hey, what Mama hasn’t had to deal with that out in public?

Grace.  The Sisterhood of Mamas.

Tonight I’m thankful for the kindness of that Mama sitting there, very likely in the–ahem–“splash zone,” who didn’t blink an eye.  I was close to tears but seeing her stay cool and near about nonchalant calmed my spirit and my anxieties.  I will take care of my children.  I will fight.  I will protect.  I will cherish.  I will teach.  I will love.  Forever and always.  Whatever that looks like.  Even if, as in that moment, it means being down on my hands and knees cleaning up “unloveliness” as fast as I can with baby wipes.  And holding my sick baby, trying to get him well the best I know how.  The other Mama, this sister, was a gift to me in that moment; she was my feather.  I think of her, and hope that one day I can pass on that grace and comfort to someone else.

Love to all.  #bethefeather

 

*****Cooter did recuperate just fine.  An hour later he was sitting in air conditioning, drinking some apple juice (thanks to my SIL for suggesting that) and eating his supper.  He even had an ice cream sundae for dessert (yes, I know, I was asking for it).  He bounced back and was fine from then on.  Thankful for that. 

 

 

 

In the Rain with Padme and Boba Fett

Last Sunday on the BigTrip, Cooter was in hog heaven.  His smile couldn’t get any brighter, and I’m pretty sure his face hurt from smiling so much.  I know mine did, and I was just smiling from seeing his joy.

Does it get any better for a Mama?

My little guy is perhaps the biggest Star Wars fan there is.  At least in the four-foot and under crowd.  And last weekend was the Mouse’s last Star Wars weekend of the whole year.  We were there for the very last day.

Wow.

They pulled out all of the stops.  Within the first forty-five minutes in the park, my littles had met Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.  When our Princess met their Princess, it was a photo-op on the grandest scale.  The excitement was as palpable as the humidity in the air.  And this is the South.  We don’t play when it comes to humidity.

Cooter meeting Luke Skywalker.  They had quite the conversation. What a moment!

Cooter meeting Luke Skywalker. They had quite the conversation. What a moment!

When it was his turn to meet Luke, my little Jedi walked right up and said, “Hey I can teach you to be a Jedi Knight.  Even better than Obi-Wan Kenobi.  He killed your father.”

Luke looked taken aback.  He was a great actor.  “Really? No.  He’s my friend.  He doesn’t kill my father.”

Cooter nodded and proceeded to share some other details of what happens in the story that were above my knowledge.

Luke crouched down in front of my little guy.  He looked him in the eyes and said, “The Force is great with you, young Jedi.  You know the past…..and the future.”  Cooter nodded, quite serious.

*sigh*  If only he were as enthusiastic about learning real facts.

Check out that cool blue dude.  Yeah I don't know who he is.  Cooter's already asleep so I can't ask.

Check out that cool blue dude. Yeah I don’t know who he is. Cooter’s already asleep so I can’t ask.

March on Stormtroopers!

March on Stormtroopers!

One of our very favorites. Bless him in that heat.

One of our very favorites. Bless him in that heat.

 

It was delightful.  Have I mentioned that already?  And hot.  And crowded.  As all good celebrations do, they had a fantastic parade with lots of characters that I had to keep asking my seven-year old who they were.  We drank water and held tight to little fans spraying water on our faces and continued on through the day, continuing to be more and more excited.  And impressed.  And happy.

My crew was happy.

Then we were sitting, waiting to see the Indiana Jones stunt show.  I’d heard it was really good, and I knew it could get packed.  We found our seats in the middle of a downpour.  Thankfully it was a covered shelter.  Not so thankfully they cancelled the last show of the night due to the inclement weather.  Ah well.  Win some, lose some.

Not to be brought down by the storm, Cooter asked if we could go to the Indiana Jones Trading Post.  We dashed over in the sprinkle that turned into another full rain.  As we were waiting it out, I looked over.  And I tried not to stare.  I leaned down and asked Cooter, “Who is she?  Is that Padme?”

He looked over.  And nodded.

Wow.

No lines.  We were all just waiting in the open air shop, avoiding the downpour.  Well, good deal.  I smiled and she waved with a shy smile.

I am my Mama’s child sometimes, not afraid to approach a stranger.  Especially when it comes to my children.  “Is it okay if we come over?”  She smiled bigger and nodded.

Padme and Boba Fett.  Our paths may never cross again but they are forever in my heart and I am thankful for them.

Padme and Boba Fett. Our paths may never cross again but they are forever in my heart and I am thankful for them.

Standing with her was another young woman, dressed as Boba Fett.  With hat, shirt, shorts (okay–it’s hot, I get it), and artillery.  They both had official Planet (fill in appropriate one here–I can’t remember) name badges.  We excitedly talked with them and then we asked if we could get their autograph.

Padme seemed hesitant.  “I mean, if it’s okay?  I don’t want you to get in trouble.”  I wasn’t sure if they were allowed to when they weren’t in an official line.  I mean, who could know what their rules were?

“No, it’s fine.  I just wouldn’t know how.”  Y’all, I was still in the dark.  She was dressed as Padme, had a badge, so she was their official Padme, right?

Oh wait.

Turns out she wasn’t.  You could purchase similar badges in some of the shops in the park, according to my oldest, Aub.  *sigh*  Okay.  These were two very enthusiastic young Star Wars fans who lived not too far from the mouse house, and they had dressed up to attend the closing day for the Star Wars celebration.

Ah well.  I hated that I’d bothered them.

And yet they stayed in character.  They talked with my children as though they were paid to be Padme and Boba.  Two of my crew’s favorites.  They did sign their “names” and did a really good job of it.

 

20140623-213751-77871519.jpg20140623-213751-77871816.jpg

But what they did best?

Shined light brightly on that dark, rainy Sunday evening.  Do my children believe they met the “real” Padme and Boba?  I think so.  One day they may read this and learn the real story.  And that’s okay too.

Because what I really want them to carry away from the moments with those two beautiful spirits is–

Make yourself interruptible.

Especially when you have the chance to bring someone else some joy.

They gave of their time.  I expect we interrupted a conversation they were having.  At any moment, they could have looked at me and said, “Look, crazy lady who looks like you’ve had a LONG day and have very few brain cells left–we are not the characters you are looking for.  Move on, and take your little ones too.”

But they didn’t.

They talked and smiled.  And signed names they had likely never signed before.

And they made little ones smile and feel happy and made dreams come true.

To my littles and anyone else who’s stuck with me this far–

anytime, you have the opportunity to do that.

Yeah.

Just do it.

The joy you share in a moment given freely and completely–

that’s the best.  That’s the real Force.

Love to all.  And may the Force be with you.

 

On Coming Home

We have returned from our Big Trip.

I could call it big trip, small trip, whatever, because it’s the only trip we’ve been on that required an overnight stay in several years.  And we were gone for seven nights.

Seven.

That’s a long time for this homebody.

We encountered mice, ducks, princesses, wookies, Jedi, and all sorts of folks all in the name of fun.

We met cousins and in-laws whom we’d never met in person before.

We ate in restaurants for the very first time and Princess was okay.  She even got to have an ice cream sundae in one, and THAT.  WAS.  HUGE.  For her and her Mama.  Such joy over that.

Of course my two constant companions were along for the trip–Anxiety Girl and Justin Case.  I worried more about my girl, about keeping my children in my line of sight, about not offending friends and family, about preparing enough food, and about Miss Sophie and the kitties back home and how they were behaving for the kind souls taking care of them.  Justin had me overpacking every single day.  We took snacks we never touched and had rain ponchos when it only rained us out the first night.  At one point I was carrying a backpack on my front and my back.  But I was READY.  FOR.  WHATEVER.  CAME.

I found a system that worked for keeping up with my camera, wallet, tickets, and autograph things.  I am proud of that as the whole losing my wallet thing has been a recurrent nightmare for me lately.

I have lots of stories to share over time and lots of things to think about.  We laughed, we cried, we cleaned up accidents on more than one occasion, and we kept on keeping on.  I had my faith restored in my fellow inhabitants of this earth way more than the few times I was disappointed in them.  I tried to take care of me, of all of us, and I said no to things that weren’t within those confines.

There is one moment I keep thinking about.  It’s come to mind today many times as I say goodbye to Haiku week (though I’ve had such a great response–thank y’all, I will likely do that again).  And I think it describes perfectly where my mind, heart, and soul are when it comes to leaving my home.

Last Wednesday, our last day to visit with the Mice, we needed to hop from the magical place to the animal one in the middle of the afternoon.  We got on the monorail and were soon zooming way above the ground.  There was one other family in the same car, and their backs were to us.  They appeared to be an older couple with a grown son who was developmentally delayed.  They were staying at one of the resorts and headed back there on the monorail.  I overheard the son tell his parents quietly with a wistful voice, “Well, our stuff just better be in that room.  Yeah, it sure better be.  All of it.”

I understand, precious one.  I sure do.

Because when I’m away from my comfort zone, I worry about such as that.  The stuff I brought, the things I “need” to get through the trip–they better stay right where they are. I can’t lose them.  My link to home, to the life I left back there, my connection to what was and what will be again–in the NOW I need for it to be there.  And when I’m away from my comfort zone, my anxiety levels rise, so yeah, I worry about all sorts of things–my stuff not being there just one of many.  But it’s about way more than just the stuff–it’s about the connection to the place where I feel the most ME.

I smiled as I heard him utter the words, and I knew I’d come across a kindred spirit.  Bless him.

Because no matter where on earth life might take me zooming across, there is no place like home.  The place where my stuff, and my heart, and those I love will always be.  The place to find ME.

Love to all.