Saturday, November 16, 2013
Disney Magic Interrupted
Soon after we exited Small World, the fireworks started. We watched them from where we were, which was not a bad location, although not the supremely desired "right in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle" spot. It was Hope's first time actually seeing live fireworks as we've never let our kids stay up long enough to watch them in July. They were pretty marvelous to behold, filling us with a sense of awe, beauty, power and just the right amount of fear, sort of like a really good experience of God. As the fireworks show came to an end, the Small World mall starts to "snow" little snowflakes made of some sort of soap-like substance as the song "White Christmas" and the sound of jingle bells were heard throughout the park. Hope was absolutely elated, her delight expressing itself in a twirly dance as she caught the little white bits of joy her hands.
Yes, except for the fact that a few hours before this magic moment, I almost threw up in the midst of an everlasting, claustrophobic line of people at the Jungle Cruise attraction and had to lay on a bench on Main Street in the fetal position for 2 hours while Alex and the girls went around together. Alex, Hope, and Anna had had a bout of stomach flu or food poisoning a few days before our trip and, while it looked like they had completely recovered (enough to down several hand dipped corn dogs each), I feared that maybe it was my turn to have a tummy problem.
Disneyland is not for the faint of heart. It seems that moments of irritation, being overwhelmed and snapping at the ones you love are givens at some point in a long day in the Magic Kingdom. During my fetal position rest time, I overheard many a parent completely losing it on their beloved children. I heard many a child having complete thermonuclear meltdowns even though they had been given $15 balloons to hold and larger than life sugar-based snacks. Disneyland may be called "the happiest place on earth" but it's also a place where the dark side of the human heart leeks out at some point or another. We were not immune to that reality.
And the clincher was getting a text message while I was watching Hope dance in the manufactured snow from Josh's caregiver (back at home) that Josh was spiking a fever. Subsequent texts and phone calls confirmed that not only did he have a fever but he was throwing up as well. As I've written in previous blogposts, this can mean emergency hospitalization for Josh if he is not able to keep his meds down. I immediately knew that it was not an option to let my carefully organized "Josh care team" deal with this level of complexity without me there so I caught the first flight that I could and returned home the next morning. I left Alex to shepherd the girls through the second day of our Disney adventure.
A part of me is tempted to say to God, "Really? It seemed like such a good thing to take this vacation with just the girls. I thought through this trip from about a billion angles. I spent about 50 hours prepping for this trip. There are seven pages of instructions that I typed out and posted on my fridge for people to use as they take care of Josh. Of all of the days that Josh could have a fever and throw up, he has to do it at the end of our first of two days at Disneyland?"
But you know what helped my heart? I came home to this.
I don't know the full meaning of why our vacation went the way it did but I do know this: I love this boy and I would do anything for him. I'm glad that I came home and we are having a quiet, restful day together. The fever and vomiting are gone but he's clearly tired and needy. I'm feeling tired and needy too and I'm not sure I would have been able to keep up with Alex and the girls on this second day given where my stomach is at. Snuggling with Josh on my bed is also a magic moment and it's the one I've been given for now.