The last day at Disney we went into the ear store, myself and the toddler. Let it be known that if you call him a baby or a big boy, he will correct you informing you that he is a “Loddler”. He will correct anyone, anytime for this offense. I had to pick something up, and he spied a set of ears to end all ears. Mickey Mouse all over it, green Mickey, pink Mickey, yellow Mickey in a graffiti print. The toddler picked it up, placed it on his blond dome, and affixed the strap under his chin, an enormous grin on his chubby face. He then proceeded to attempt a rather ill thought out theft, between the ears and the maniacal laugh issued from the small boy running toward the exit.
He got the ears. He wore them all day. He fell asleep with them on in the car. His brother, all of five, came into the store while he was wearing those fantastic ears. He needed a set as well, with a menacing Mickey on the ears. Perhaps he still harbored ill will towards the elephant, who knows. He got the ears as well.
The two of them strutting their stuff, decked out in their ears, names embroidered, naturally, could not have been two prouder peacocks. Their sister remained in search of some flip flops to no avail, caught between desperately wanting a set of ears, and feeling horrified to be grouped in with the two young boys rather than her teenage cousins. We walked through the park, they in their hats, and people smiled. Just smiled. These were some happy kids.
We got barricaded into a parade area, an area I would never have gone to as their was too large a crowd. The toddler and I got pushed to the curb which made us front row. My husband saw where I was and sent my other son up to squeeze in next to us. There were a couple of small girls behind us, one teeny one, maybe a year, in a stroller. I sat down to be as small as possible, and told my boys to make room for the girls to move next to them.
There was a shift in mood. People had thought that we had pushed our way in front of them and didn’t realize that we were trying to get out of there but were pushed in front of them by the parade squad. Now they saw what we were really about, and all of these pushed-too-far parents and grandparents started backing up, and squeezing the kids forward, me as a pseudo-den mother. Just a little kindness is sometimes all it takes.
Seeing the toddler and kids a little older than him watching this parade, and all of the characters, yeah, that’s what Disney is about. His face was unabridged joy, amazement, and innocence. I thought his head would explode. All of the kids around him, the same thing, as they made room for one another and pointed out who they could see. A moment of quiet amidst chaos. A moment of benefit of the doubt. A moment of humanity. Ahhh.
We were walking around Epcot, and my older son was having a bit of a fit about wanting to go back. We were trying to be accommodating but we were halfway around the large circle of countries. Either way we went, we were still too far for him. I saw a path that had Alice in Wonderland teacups hidden in the shrubs that was empty. I veered off down it, my husband doubting my sanity knowing where this usually ends when my son gets pushed over his edge of reason. What I understand about my son though, is he is a natural explorer. Give him a path, some woods, a maze and the boy will be happy. At the end, there was a short, shrubby maze and he took off. My daughter followed him, but the toddler was too exhausted and just sat in the stroller happy not to be bugged by his brother.
Then four men dressed as the Beatles came out of nowhere and started playing in this small gazebo. A small crowd gathered. There were two men in their sixties who were singing along to every song, knew every word. You would never look at these men and think, I bet they know every word to every Beatles song. You would be wrong.
I suggested to my husband that although we surely will tempt fate, wouldn’t a beer taste lovely? He was off before I finished my sentence. We sat, my husband and I on yet another curb, listening to music, drinking a beer while the toddler and my daughter danced in the early evening in pseudo-England. Disney is alright.
And my favorite part of the trip. There was a huge storm that passed through last Thursday. Tornado warnings, hail, thunder and lightning, torrential downpours. I cannot tell you how many people told me they couldn’t believe how awful that was, but they didn’t get it, get us.
I sat in the hotel room, bouncing bouncy balls into basketball hoops made up of a tipped over chair and a corner. I wrote characters down on itty, bitty pieces of paper and then watched my just-learning-to-read son phonetically spell out his own, as we laughed our asses off playing the best game of charades I’ve ever played. If you’ve never seen a two-year-old boy act out Tinkerbell, you haven’t lived. We tried to walk outside of the hotel as far around as we could without getting wet, in a monsoon. My husband and I drank a couple of cold beers that were in our little fridge, laughing about how much fun we were having. No reading got done. No writing. But all we needed was right there, right then.
Disney is alright.