As I mentioned a few weeks ago, a very dear friend gave us the very amazing gift of a free week stay at a vacation resort in Orlando, Florida. Including our travel days there and back and a couple of wonderful days in Sarasota visiting some more friends, we were gone for about 2 weeks. And they were fun-filled, action packed, hair-raising weeks. But I'll get to that later. Today I just want to talk about one extraordinary day of our vacation that I will never forget.
We went to Disney World! Yes, I was more excited than anyone else. And yes, I probably had more fun that day then anyone else. Because I witnessed magic that day.
Now before you start throwing around the "Are you crazy?"s, we only took Grace and Haven. We could have taken the 4 Littles for free but we thought this was just too crazy to tackle and we wanted the day to be special for Grace and Haven because they are the only ones really old enough to remember it anyway. Our wonderful, wonderful, wonderful friend Kristie (along with some lovely college students from her church) volunteered to babysit the Littles for free ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT! These days we just call her Saint Kristie.
So off we went. We started early, we finished late, and we sucked all the fun out of Disney that we possibly could in between. It was a truly magical, marvelous day.
And from the moment we got on the ferryboat to ride from the parking lot to the actual gates of the Magic Kingdom, I was on the verge of tears. Happy tears mostly, I was at the "happiest place on earth". Those magical moment kind of tears that get you all choked up when you get to share something special and sweet and wonderful with your children.
But I held them back because I knew that Brian would make fun of me if he saw me crying. He's like that. If there is a touching moment in a movie the first thing he does is look over to see if I'm crying so he can make fun of me being too sentimental.
So I held it together through all of Fantasyland. Although, riding on "It's a Small World" was close! It is my all time favorite Disney memory from childhood and it was out first ride at the park that day, so I was feeling very mushy at that moment.
Mostly the day was filled with lots of smiles and laughter and hugs and hand holding.
And pictures and funny faces and slushy breaks.
This particular princess sighting was especially precious.
Mickey's PhilharMagic 3-D movie nearly did me in! Watching Grace and Haven laugh and dive for the 3-d gems floating in the sky around us really was like seeing magic right there on their faces.
I just squeaked by during the Electric Parade. Oh so lovely and exciting.
I made it through Pooh's Corner, but almost lost it on Peter Pan's Flight.
I made it through a big session of souvenir hunting. That's enough to make any parent cry.
And round and round in a laughter filled teacup.
Although the day was very hot and very long, I must say that Grace and Haven were absolute troopers. Very little complaining about sore feet or boring lines. The only tears that came from either of them the whole day were when Grace hit her head during a surprise curve on the Jungle Cruise. Daddy was also very good all day :)
I had gotten almost all the way through the day and then it happened. In the middle of the laser light show that shines on the castle (which by the way is some of the most extraordinary entertainment I've ever seen in my life) a moment of sheer bliss, unbridled excitement, and absolute true magic sprung from Grace's lips. At the very highest point of the castle Tinkerbell appeared in a burst of fireworks and then flew across the sky and over our heads.
At that moment Grace cried out, "She's real Mama, she's REAL!!! You said she wasn't, but she's really magic!" And the tears just poured out of me. I stood in that crowd of 10,000 strangers, squeezing Grace's hand and I balled. I cried because I got to live a moment of magic with my sweet girl. I cried because it was just as exciting and spectacular for me as it was for her. I cried because at that magical moment she was standing next to me Disney World and not in an orphanage in China. What kind of miracle is that. I cried because I am the most blessed mama in the world to have her as a daughter.
And then real fast I wiped my face so that Brian wouldn't see me crying and make fun of me.
The next day as we were talking about our wonderful adventure Brian admitted that he had been pretty choked up several times during the day, too. He said he kept thinking about where our kids might be if they hadn't ended up being our kids. What their lives would have been like on a typical day. Certainly not like a trip to Disney.
It's pretty hard to come back to normal after a day like that. But it will be a day that I will treasure always and hold carefully, like a tiny fairy in the palm of my hand.