The Mouse and His Giant People Trap

13Oct08

A coworker once told me when I was pregnant with my daughter, “Enjoy it while you can. She’ll be grown before you know it.” I must have heard this cliché a hundred times in my short while as a young mother but during two a.m. feedings and diaper changes it felt like I was going to have an infant for all of eternity. Canaan just turned five. I’m still in denial over it because there is no way that I am mother to a kindergartener. It seems like just days ago I was cleaning up poop finger paintings in her nursery. Yeah, gross I know. She’s turned into this small person with thoughts and feelings and (freak out) opinions. I’m waiting for her any day to give me insight in who to vote for this election.

In her five years on the planet Earth Canaan has lived a lot of life. Much like her mother, she’s already experienced joys and losses of people eight times her age. This year has been a confusing nightmare for both of my kids and for Canaan especially. I remember, with painful clarity, the morning I went into her bedroom, scooped her up in my arms and told her that Daddy wasn’t going to be able to take her swimming after lunch. It was the worst day of all of our lives.

So about six weeks ago I decided to plan Canaan’s birthday party. I looked at all of the possibilities: the bouncy place, the park, the tiny piece of hell-on-earth Chuck E Cheese. None of the options in Nashville seemed suitable for such a big event in her life during such a hard year, so I knew I had to dream a little bigger.

A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep. In dreams you lose your heartaches. Whatever you wish for, you keep. Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.

We packed our bags and headed to Disney World.

The trip was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was a COMPLETE surprise to the kids. I literally told them just hours before putting them on the plane. This year has just been so terrible that I decided it was worth giving my kids the surprise of a lifetime. Sure, it’s not my paradise, but Disney is like the Bora Bora for kids. My friend Brenda, knowing me ever so well, said of our trip, “Normally I think being in the “Happiest Place on Earth” would get on your very last nerve, however right now it may be just what you need to level yourself out.” She was right.

Our first day there we went to SeaWorld and got to listen to Will sing his own theme song all day, “Who we gonna see? Shampu! Shampu!” And we did! I seriously considered quitting my job and learning to train killer whales for a living. It was amazing.

 

Day two was at the Magic Kingdom. When Canaan’s eyes landed on Cinderella’s castle for the first time the look on her face was priceless. I thought she was going to cry she was so excited. We went off on a trek across the park for a prearranged meeting with Peter Pan. Peter presented her with a very special “Happy Birthday” button and autographs from Tinkerbelle, Wendy and all the Lost Boys. Then I made the mistake of taking her on the Pirates of Caribbean and scaring the bejezus out of her. Good one Mom. Apparently Canaan doesn’t share my same enthusiasm for a hot, robotic, Cap’n Jack singing “Yo ho, yo ho a Pirate’s life for me!” Thankfully, soon after, all was put right with the world when she got to meet all of her favorite princess and Mommy got to shoot a lot of video of Prince Charming. J

Day three we were at Epcot and we stood in line for about twenty minutes to meet Mickey Mouse and all of his friends. My son was so excited when he saw Mickey that he took off in a dead run and nearly fell on his face trying to stop when we called him back. He got to dance with Donald Duck and show off his acrobatic moves, got a kiss that turned him red from Alice in Wonderland and huge hug from Dopey the Dwarf. At that moment, my sister and I both almost quit our jobs and signed up to play characters at Disney. I mean, what better job could there be than this:

 Canaan’s birthday lasted for seven days. All seven days she proudly wore her Happy Birthday button and was sung to and presented with cake for dinner every night. It was a week of memories that will last for eternity. And guess what folks? When October 2nd rolls around next year…. I’m screwed.

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