April 11, 2016

A Special Thank You

Several years back, when we were at a previous trip to Magic Kingdom in DisneyWorld with our family circus, we were using our Guest Assistance Pass to bypass the long line of the Small World ride.  Just as we were entering, a lady who was holding the hand of her child that was dressed from head to toe in every souvenir possible, holding a large balloon with remnants of a chocolatey Mickey Bar spreading the circumference of his lips, yelled out to us in a volume for all to hear, "We would sure love to skip the line too!!!"

I slowed my step, took a deep breath and thought of my day.  I would sure love to be standing in line with her, too, I thought. 

Bridger had just completed a 30 minute epic sensory meltdown before we attempted to enter the Small World ride, which was similar to the complete screaming tantrum that started our day when we had to wait for over an hour for the boat that was wheelchair accessible to come to our dock from our hotel, watching all the people behind us in line hop aboard the 3 non-accessible boats that came by in the meantime. It was the same total meltdown he had every time we passed by the Peter Pan ride -- all 5 times because he wanted to get on, again, and my other children couldn't bear to ride it a 4th time.  Which was not as severe as the full body tantrum he had every time we had to get off a ride when we received a mighty bruise or two as we carried him kicking and screaming off the ride because he had so much fun that he didn't want the ride to end.  The quiet times we found in our day were the moments I tucked behind a shop to tube feed Bridger, or the quiet times I had in the First Aid center that afternoon while Bridger was having seizures.

So after my fellow Disney mom hollered to me for all the crowds to hear, I continued pushing Bridger's wheelchair forward with the rest of my family following and thought of my mental trade to her.

I would give a million dollars if I could stand in that line with my child standing next to me holding a balloon with ice cream smeared on his mouth and wait.  A million? No, double that. . . triple that even.

I would give ANYTHING if I could stand there with you.  For every day I live in the hospital that you live at the park, for every night that I am awake that you are enjoying blissful slumbers, for every moment I am scrubbing vomit out of clothes that you are scrubbing dirt stains from baseball uniforms. . .  please, don't begrudge me the one brief second that my life might be a bit easier than yours.  Because I promise you the minute we get off this ride, it will return to impossibly difficult again.

And THAT is why I love Disney.  They don't begrudge special families of that moment.  They go out of their way to make us feel as many moments of "easy" as possible. 

There are only two vacations that we have found thus far that our family can do.  The first is the beach, the second is Disney.  We are so grateful that Disney makes it possible for our family to have a vacation that everyone can enjoy {enjoy being a very relative word in the life of Special}.  Disney is magical for us.  The extra "benefits" (like alternative lines) make it possible for Bridger to enjoy the park, but those perks also hold another kind of magic.  Those perks serve as compensation to my other children.  My other children are keenly aware of the extra difficulties in their life because of having a brother with special needs.  So when they look at the long lines they would otherwise be in and follow their brother into the alternative entrance, when they enjoy their front row visually impaired seating next to their brother and when they enjoy their reserved parade seating. . .

they thank him.

Those magical Disney moments are when they think they have the best life in the whole world, because of Special.

This moment I captured on camera during our last trip is just after Bridger and I left the Guest Services office with our Magic Kingdom tickets, where the Disney agent had just loaded on a dozen blank Fast Pass+ entrances to any ride to all of our tickets for the day.

His siblings enveloped him with a great big hug and said, "thank you, Bridger!"