Put on Your Dancin' Shoes...

We had a day full of the "whatsoever things" yesterday. And it's proof that God is helping me in this area because there were some definite rough spots. Not little potholes but major construction, sections-of-the-road-missing, type of rough spots. Then I woke up this morning, checked facebook, and one of my new friends had left this gem of a quote, "I believe that no matter what the terrain, our feet can learn to dance." Sigh, smile, tears... Yes. We can choose to dance even when the road seems to be missing under our feet. Yesterday was proof.

Dan had the day off for the first time in over a week. In the mornings all week, we have been spending his before-shift time handling family business. It's been stressful. It's meant dragging kids to office buildings. It's meant rushing to get Dan to work on time after the morning stuff was finished. It's meant begging kids to be quiet so we could handle phone calls. We needed a break. In our family, that means a day at Disney. Not so much because we love it that much but because we can spend a whole day there letting the kids run and nobody cares how wild they are. Oh, yeah, and the fact that it's free helps.

So, up we get in the morning, feed everyone, get everyone dressed, check email...
Bump in the road #1 - an email is there telling me that my Grandmother, who lives in Massachusetts has gone in for surgery and that it didn't go well. They lost her on the table, brought her back, and moved her to ICU with the surgical wound still open and in an induced coma. Quick phone calls to my parents (who are, by the way, on vacation with my other grandparents in North Carolina) to see what's going on, if this is affecting their vacation. Nobody's sure yet...wait and see...

Okay, that gets taken care of. Niggling in the back of the mind but there's nothing I can do at this point, so on we go with our day. Pile everyone in the car and off we go.

We hit Hollywood Studios first. Our 5-year-old loves the stunt car show there, so we went there first. GREAT show, everyone was happy, and on we went to the Jedi Training Academy. Great again. Star Tours ride - awesome. Lunchtime: Dan gets in line, I take the kids to get a seat.
Bump #2: They begin to bicker, they hit each other across the table, it gets loud. I ask them to stop. Please. Nicely. Not-so-nicely. Downright angrily. They don't. My phone beeps that I have a message. It's from my dad. I can't take it right now. My kids are out of control.

Dan arrives with the food and magically (this is Disney, after all) the kids turn their attention to eating rather than fighting. This means that I can inhale my meal, ditch the kids with Dan, and go call my dad back.
Bump #3: In the middle of a Disney day with my family, I learn that my Grandmother (we call her Aunt Millie because she's Grampa's 2nd wife and was 'too young to be a Grandma' when they married...she's a trip...) has passed away. She went in for routine surgery to clear a blockage in her intestine and never woke up again. While my parents are on vacation. This is especially hard because we lost my Grampa in December - again while my parents were on their first-ever vacation to Germany to see my brother. Dad feels like vacation is jinxed. Which is bad because he just retired in February, and he and mom have a LOT of vacation planned. Tears in the middle of Disney feel very out of place.

Okay, off the phone, have to return to the table. Dan knows what has happened from my face. Without even speaking, we agree to hold off on telling the kids. I'd lose it if I tried to speak, anyway. We finish lunch, then head toward the boat that will take us to Epcot.

Once we arrive at Epcot, we decide to see if Soarin' is too long a wait and if everyone is tall enough yet to do it. Yes. We can all ride and the wait is only about 45 minutes. We get in line. Then our Asperger's baby begins to anticipate and get fearful. This could get *really* bad. He's covering his ears and beginning to whimper. Dan snuggles him and talks calmly, he allows me to describe the ride so he knows what's going to happen in advance. Blessedly, he catches hold of the fact that one of the landscapes is a city center. He asks if there are stores. Yes. Are there any that sell Jell-O? I don't know; we'll have to look really closely as we fly over...tragedy averted. He relaxed; we had a great ride.

After that little triumph, the 6-year-old had a bird poop on his foot. While I took him to get cleaned up, Dan kept the others on the walkway. The 5-year-old asked if Daddy had a little money in his wallet to buy ice cream. He can't have ice cream. Dairy and him is a bad combination. A nice grandfather-type overheard the question and asked if my little guy wanted ice cream. After ducking behind Daddy, he quietly answered that he would like ice cream. At which the well-meaning grandpa type handed him $5 and told him to go get ice cream.
Bump #4: We have 4 kids. Five dollars won't buy 4 kids ice cream at Disney, and the one that had the cash can't *have* ice cream.

After allowing the man to have the joy of being generous to our kiddo, we were left to figure out how to manage the consequences. PRAY!!! We fortunately had a little cash with us (unusual for us; we bring our own snacks) and were able to allow each child to choose a treat. And the 3 little guys allowed their choices to be narrowed to the non-dairy items and WERE HAPPY with the swirly-colored popsicle.

Onward to Test Track where we replayed the Soarin' scenario, only with much more vehement whimpering and clinging. He was calmed by going through the pre-show area which features all kinds of test equipment used in vehicle manufacture. The more he became engrossed in the mechanics, the more relaxed he became. Then it came time to board the cars.
Bump #5: Our faster-than-us 5-year-old darted THROUGH the ride car and almost out the other side. Dan got a hand on him, plopped him back in the car, and buckled him in. Have you ever watched faces on other folks as you buckle a tantrumming 5-year-old into a ride because *you* know that he just has to be encouraged past his fear? *You* know that a vital part of your role as parent to this particular child is to help him recognize safe situations and re-wire his thinking to quell the overreactive flight response? Maybe someday I'll become immune to the shaking heads and disapproving whispers. Maybe. He whimpered through the seat-belt check, then had a BLAST on the ride. Came off disappointed because "I didn't even get to drive; the car does everything for you." This morning, he woke up describing his favorite parts of it and is currently building his own test track in the living room.

We ended up the night at Spaceship Earth and actually let the kids play in the futuristic arcade at the end. We never do that.

All through this, the 13-year-old didn't get involved in the parenting or the fight; the 6-year-old went along with NOT going on the ride he asked about; the 5-year-old didn't completely break down beyond our ability to work with him; the 3-year-old WALKED THE WHOLE DAY, and while there were moments of tears, it was also a great family day. It's the first time that the whole family has been able to go on every ride all together. There has always been a problem with height restrictions or meltdowns. Not yesterday.

We found a way to dance over the terrain. It wasn't easy. It took teamwork and shoring up each other's weak spots. There was even some clinging to our partner for dear life. But our feet learned.


  1. I miss you guys so much. Your kids are growing up and I'm missing it all..lol.

    This was a great image and vision into your life. I know that every day holds a new "tragedy" or "discovery" for ya'll but you seem to be handling it all beautifully and "dancing" through it all!!!


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