Let the kids drive every now-and-again.
The sights that poured through my lenses the last three days were continually colored with the light that shone in my daughters’ irises as we made our way from home to the steps of Disney World. Blech, but fun to write – so it stays, and there is truth to it.
Well, except: driving the eleven hours to get to Orlando, or when I swallowed my vomit after A. lost her stomach an hour into our trip, reacquainting us with our egg breakfast – the excitement got to her. Perhaps, I wasn’t looking through ‘their’ eyes when we waited in line for the water-ride-through-culture called ‘It’s a Small World’; the girls stepped out to get ice cream, I waited, the girls met me back in line, when a woman behind us, who perhaps didn’t notice all the people I let go around me as I waited for them, felt compelled to say ‘go to the end like everyone else’. It wasn’t what she said, it was the disgusted look on her face. I assured her that we waited like everyone else and that we would probably meet again someday, you know what they say.
In the past, when in situations like Disney World, where we are surrounded by gobs of people; some polite, some rude, and some just plain weird (us?), I would view the world through my ‘adult’ eyes, and assign too much of my perspective to the situation. I would obsessively plan our day, get uptight if someone cut us off, get frustrated when the tram didn’t park in the ‘exact’ same spot to pick us up as it did when it dropped us off, and otherwise steer the ship instead of join the ride, but yesterday was different.
Yesterday, while visiting Disney World, I challenged myself to drop my adult vision (for me it involves intense control), and see the world through the girls’ eyes (Am I a commercial?). Kids don’t see rudeness the way we do, they don’t see the tall, pale, red-headed man wearing a green shirt, cut into lines – they see a line that leads to a Princess, a line they would camp out in for three days. I accepted and completely embraced my challenge – in doing so, Disney World was: entertaining, relaxing,extremely enjoyable, and even emotional.
There were many times I had the urge to go back to my normal, everyday, controlling self. What did i do when I felt that urge? I took a deep breath and said ‘there is no ‘end’ result, just a day to enjoy’ – perhaps cheesy, but it worked, and it’s true. One conclusion I came to, while in this more calm state, is that lines at Disney are awesome. My wife, R., thinks I’m ridiculous and was pining for a ‘fast pass’ (More-or-less a pass that gets you to the front of the line for a fee), but not me, or what I was telling me. Disney is a total visual overload. If you are going from ride to ride on your ‘fast pass’ you can burn out quickly and have the expectation that you shouldn’t have to wait for anything, and when you have to wait, you get frustrated and say things that sound pretentious, like ‘Um, yah, like I have a ‘fast pass’ (you have to do the finger quotes) that means I shouldn’t, like,have to wait. What’s with this waiting?’ My thought: waiting in line gives your eyes and other senses a chance to relax. You can space-out-people-watch, while dragging your kids as they munch through an entire bag of cheddar bunnies. All that to ready yourself for the next adventure. A mental break. I may have actually convinced myself that I believe this.
My other uplifting visual experience, other than some of the interesting ( read – see through and tight) pants people thought would be appropriate for a family outing, was the moment our girls met real Princesses. We entered the park, A. pulled my hand, R. and H. followed, she led us to a nondescript building, I, in my effort to not control the situation, followed her inside, I wanted to question the ‘what’s’ ‘how longs’ and ‘what for’s’ of what we were doing, but resisted, and was pleasantly surprised that she led us to a room where we could meet ‘real Princesses’. The looks on their faces took me out of my body, I obsessively took pictures to hide the fact that my eyes were welling up. Witnessing innocence in intense ways brings out my emotions.
What does my Papa Sense tell me about the day: It’s good to give up control every now and again. Will I live my life the way I did while visiting a sunny, no work, no stress, Florida theme park? Probably not, but I can certainly, in an effort to help our kids grow up without as many hang-ups, see the world through their eyes more often. Not only see the world through their eyes, but trust what I see, and react accordingly.