Day of (re)enchantment
For the record, I don’t think that Disney World is the happiest place on earth. If it is, we’re in trouble. I saw plenty of screaming children and exhausted parents during our 10 hours there. I saw people spending too much money on things that cost too much. I saw employees with glazed over stares and perma-grins that didn’t quite reach their eyes (although, admittedly, not very often). And more than once I saw an adult lean over into the face of a miserable child and hiss “You’re supposed to be happy today.” It may be the place where dreams come true, but it’s also a place where real life still happens, right alongside grinning chipmunks and flying elephants.
But I never had any illusions about Disney World being the thing that created magic and joy where it had previously been missing. This experience wasn’t about that for me. Instead, it represented something that I’ve been hoping for for a long time now: my re-enchantment with my kids. The truth is, I let myself become disenchanted with my life and children because of my own misdirection and despondency during all those months of mis-employment and unemployment. I let myself believe that I was doing good for them by being available for more hours of the day, when it was clear all along that the mother they were getting in those extra hours was often unpleasant, distracted, depressed.
Since starting my job in October, the quantity of time that I spend with my kids has been greatly decreased. But I can’t even begin to describe how the quality has changed. There were days before I started working that I simply endured them. Endured them. I don’t want to think of my time with these two incredible people as something to be endured, ticking off the hours waiting to be free of their needs and wants. I want to enjoy them. I want to be patient with them. I want to show them how to find joy. I want to teach them how to grow into amazing adult people, fully able to navigate this crazy world we brought them into. And now that I’m finding fulfillment in other areas of my life, I am finally starting to remember that I am capable of all these things. This is such a gift. It is a gift.
I am so thankful for this Christmas trip that we received from L’s family. It was the perfect time and place to rededicate myself to really seeing and hearing Noah and Rosie, and to remember how amazing they are just to be with. Because they are where the magic really is. And I’m grateful this holiday season that I was able to stop again for a moment and see it.
*Music: Stars by Apollo Run. It seems to capture how I felt about the day just right. The lyrics can be interpreted in many different ways, which is always a sign of a great song to me. But I should mention that I think the “necessary evil” can be any number of things, and didn’t intend to imply it was Disney World (which is the first thing L asked me after he saw the video). I don’t think Disney World is a necessary evil, or even an unnecessary one. About that I wanted to be extra clear. Thanks again Rachel, Jason, Ginnymom, Granddaddy and Seth for a great day. Disney World was amazing.