There was a time when I went to bed completely stressed out, fearing what the next day held in store for me.
Two kids born with terrible cases of reflux, nights of marathon screaming fits, and fighting of bed times that transitioned into a very sick baby and a mouthy toddler, and I dreaded falling asleep only to wake up to another bad day… and the bad days were BAD. For a long time we had more of those than good and I just began to see every day that way, even as time wore on.
Days weren’t just days, there was no gray area; they were good or they were bad, and I classified them as such based on how the kids would act.
Who would have thought that one tiny moment out of one day at Disney World would change that? Certainly not me.
Like with any theme park, or really anywhere that attracts a lot of people- there is waiting to be done. Waiting for a ride, waiting to get food, waiting for the bathroom- it’s something you know you’re going to have to before you ever get there. Even with my permanent fast-pass, we still had to wait for things, and meeting Disney Characters was no exception.
The line to meet Rapunzel was the longest of them all, but the boys really wanted to meet her and we needed a break from being on our feet all day so we decided to just suck it up and wait it out.
It took a good 45 minutes to even get into the area where she was standing, hugging and meeting fans. With only a few people left in front of us (and my boys getting restless and I swear attempting to hurl each other over a walkway), the line suddenly came to an abrupt halt. Of course, when you’ve been waiting that long for anything and the line stops moving completely, you’re going to wonder why, and you’re going to look for answers.
As I craned my neck around the line, that’s when I figured out what the hold up was. Another family was being ushered to the front of the line, and I didn’t understand why until I saw a little girl emerge from the group and run into Rapunzel’s arms. This little girl had no hair. But that wasn’t what I noticed about her the most. Although I, as well as everyone else, knew the reality of the situation before us, the thing that most stood out about this little girl was her eyes. The brightest happiest eyes I have ever seen on any person, and a giant glowing smile to match. She absolutely glowed, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. It wasn’t that I was gawking, or that I was trying to pry into what was a special family moment for them- but it was special to me too.
There was this little girl, this tiny beautiful little girl, battling something harder than most of us will ever experience in an entire lifetime- happier than ANYONE in that entire park. And from what? Just meeting someone dressed up in a costume of a character she liked.
In that moment, I know it sounds silly, or maybe even cliche’d, I felt changed. It’s not that i’ve never known anyone who has gone through cancer, it’s that i’ve never witnessed someone going through so much, so young, leave all the worries and cares behind and have… well.. a completely magical moment.
This brave little girl, in just a matter of minutes, showed me just how wrong i’ve been looking at things. If she can experience so much and still have that beautiful smile on her face, and genuinely be happy, even with the hand dealt to her- why can’t I, even on the “bad” days?
I felt moved. Physically, emotionally, mentally. I was even brought to tears watching as Rapunzel embraced her, and how she was satisfied with just that one simple hug until she was called back for pictures and an autograph. She didn’t expect any more. She was happy with just that.
I’m even brought to tears now just typing about it- the moment was that special, that rare. One I wasn’t sure I wanted to write about because I wasn’t sure I could do it justice, or the effect it had on me.
It’s not that I didn’t appreciate the fact that I have my children before; of course I did, and do. I find that as parents, we tend to get swept up in the whining and the crying and the monotony and irritations of every day life and forget just how special it is just to have them there. Healthy. Happy.
Don’t get me wrong, I will still think whining is annoying. I’ll still get frustrated and overwhelmed and fed up. That comes with parenting and not having the patience of a saint. I can’t control those feelings about kids, but at least I get the opportunity to feel them.
I can now see that days are just days. They don’t have to be good or bad because of how great or terrible the kids are acting, they’re just days- and i’m thankful to have them.
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