The epic and famous Disney World ride. When we made the pilgrimage to Disney during my childhood, I’d insist on repeating that ride on loop. My parents joked about the earworm of a song which played over and over again in their heads for the remainder of our vacation. Did I care? Nope. Not one bit. Kids are assholes like that.
Last week we took our children to the Magic Kingdom. We were in Orlando for a soccer tournament, so the theme park would be a one day event. My Husband and I had prepared ourselves for the absolute worst. Hot weather, exhaustion, a 5-month-old, 2 older children with conflicting interests and a 5 year difference in age, plus tantrums. Due to the fact that Magic Kingdom doesn’t serve alcohol, we readied ourselves like soldiers going to battle. Bad behavior would not be tolerated at any level. Even though tickets to the Disney parks now cost an insane amount of money for a family of 5, we were willing to haul ass if anyone lost their shit, including the adults. No one was going to end up like Clark W. Griswold today.
Maybe it was our attitude going in, take no prisoners, if-this-isn’t-fun-we-run attitude, that made the actual events of the day so surreal, but I’m still having a hard time believing it wasn’t a dream.
The kids were AMAZING. They were on-their-best-behavior BRILLIANT.
We actually had… wait for it, wait for it… FUN.
I know!! Family fun!! It’s like the fucking Loch Ness Monster to most parents. We walked the park, picking and choosing what we would and wouldn’t do as a unit. Many situations involved Hubby and the older boys hitting up and attraction while I fed the baby, rocked the baby, tried to keep the baby from melting. This was fine with me. Watching my sons agree, and enjoy their precious time with their father was breathtaking. “And who knows when they will ever behave this well again?” kept echoing in my subconscious. That bitch always knows how to ruin a party.
With all the new rides at Disney (completely unlike the trips of my youth), combined with the “Fast Pass” system and the insane amount of other people at the park, It’s a Small World, was never even discussed. The 3-year-old didn’t know it existed, the 9-year-old couldn’t have cared less, and me? Although it was my childhood favorite, I wasn’t about to sacrifice our fantastic vibe for a personal trip to yesteryear in 98 degree heat. That was a non-issue. As we walked past the legendary portal, I gave it a second glance. Hubby saw it in my eyes, but he knew my motives to keep on walking. They were his motives too. Harmony.
By this point in the day it was hot. Actually, hot is the understatement of the year, it was abysmal. Even as year-round Florida residents we were suffering. The baby looked a great deal more than his genetic half-Irish at this point. While looking for some shade I found the Holy Grail of the theme park… an air-conditioned, covered alcove with misting fans… HOLY SHIT!! Is this heaven? “No, it’s Iowa” quoted my inner bitch in her sarcastic tone. We’ve obviously watched Field of Dreams too often. Note to self: Don’t let the inner bitch pick movies anymore.
With my ideal spot secured, I sent the big boys along to their next ride. Our day was almost over and I was happy to have a luxurious place to feed the baby and rock him to sleep. I stood there, pushing the stroller, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. When I looked up, a woman of Asian decent had locked eyes with me from 20 feet away. She too, was pushing a stroller but with adorable, identical twins. I gestured that there was room in paradise, and she made way into my happy place with a nod of her head that sounded like thank you to my brain. We rocked our children while reading our phones, and sometimes our eyes met and we smiled. You know, that knowing mom smile? It’s the smile of being in the same boat, usually up shits creek without a paddle. I reveled in the fact that even though we couldn’t communicate verbally, we did, mom-ally.
The alcove had open air walls. People could see inside. Moms are the most resourceful and resilient bunch to ever walk the earth. When other moms saw us, and our strollers, they knew this place was comfy and safe. In the next 45 minutes we were joined by another Asian mom, a mom in a sari, and a mom in a full traditional Berka covering all but her smiling and thankful eyes to have a cool spot for her children.
That’s when it hit me like a ton-of-bricks. As an English-speaking American, I am in the minority of the ethnic pie-chart that makes up the world. That doesn’t bother me, not one bit, but as Americans, it’s easy to forget there is a whole globe of other people out there too. Other moms. Just like me. Who only want our children to be safe and happy. I’m sure that’s what Walt Disney was trying to project with It’s a Small World back in the day. Before ticket prices were exorbitant, before lines were 7 hours long, despite wars and politics dividing people. As a kid, I KNEW THAT.
Although I didn’t get to ride the actual attraction that day, I was reminded though the connection of motherhood, it’s a small world after all.