- Did you know we went to Disneyland last March??
- Did you know I had been planning it for YEARS!?
- Did you know that I bought them matching outfits to keep track of them in large crowds!?
- Did you know we saved and planned and were SO EXCITED to give our girls that experience?
- On our first ride (the carousel-Kate and Sophie's favorite ride!) I got teary when I saw the delight/glee/joy on my girl's faces!
- Do you know that since I have been home I have hardly looked at the pictures we took that week??
Well I have had a really hard time remembering all the wonderful memories we had there---
because one memory overwhelms me completely and is tainting the rest of it. (I know this sounds really dramatic.) Well I am ready to get over it! I am sorry if you have heard this before. This will be the last time I tell it. At least the way I have been feeling it.
On our second day at Disneyland we stood in line at the "Finding Nemo" ride. It was the LONGEST line we experienced while we were there. It wound and wound around. We visited Disneyland with Danny's mom (aka GO UTE Nana), and my sister Dede with her family. Since Danny's mom was with us we each took charge of one of the girls. As we stood in this particular line Sophie was getting restless (climbing the ropes, dancing around, and just generally having a hard time standing there). Half way through the line I assigned her to Danny. He is more mellow and strong enough to hold her on his shoulders for half the day. The line kept going....and going. Just after we made the last turn I offered my girl's some frozen lemonade. Ellie was closest... then Kate...wait- where's Sophie!? I turned to Danny, "Where's Sophie!?" He was on the phone taking a business call. I turned to my sister, "Do you see Sophie!?" Just as I started to panic I see the Disneyland employee holding Sophie with a wonderful family following behind.
SOPHIE! I was stunned! What had happened!? We were just in line! I made some lame comment to the gentleman- I felt in that moment that the false security of "strength in numbers" weakened my alertness. There were 5 adults and 7 children. He handed us a big pin "YOU'RE REUNITED!" and I just held Sophie so tightly. I started to ask her what happened when a woman approached me. She looked me in the face and said, "You don't deserve your children. You never even stepped out of line. You didn't even know your daughter was gone." I was stunned. I stood there speechless...and heart broken. "YOU DON'T DESERVE YOUR CHILDREN!" was playing repeat in my mind over and over and over again. The woman walked away and I was left broken hearted. Really.
My mind was turning and turning. Is she right??? How did I not know she was gone!? I tried to bring up my defenses....I thought of all of my friends---both near and far. Do they think I deserve my children? They know me better than this lady. Again I questioned--- how did I not know she was gone!? I thought of the nice comments here---comments about my mothering ability---and I felt like a total fraud. :(
We shared the submarine (Finding Nemo) with the nice family that brought her to us. I lamely said, "Thank you so much!" How do you thank someone enough for finding your lost daughter? We walked off the ride and I threw the "YOU'RE REUNITED!" pin in the trash. We headed to another ride and I just held her so tight. I didn't let her out of my sight the entire day. Thankfully, she didn't want to be out of my sight after that.
At lunch---I just sat and cried. I couldn't believe I had lost her. I felt so grateful to be reunited so quickly but I couldn't let go of those words. Danny looked at me across the table. "Carin, she is fine. Why are you so upset?" "Didn't you hear her?? what she said to me??" He didn't know. He was still on the phone.
Now it is time to change. Following Mandy's advice I have decided to be grateful for it. SO here is my list. My gratitude list.
- My girls are safe. Maybe this heightened my awareness of our vulnerability (although I thought I was pretty good at this before). Maybe I needed another reminder how precious life is and we are to each other. Maybe it has saved me from a situation that could have been much worse.
- This experience taught me to be careful to see the whole picture. Remember not to jump to conclusions with out knowing the whole story.
- Try to live my life independent of what other people think of me. I was furious that I had let one person's opinion effect so much of my day/life. I really tried to keep a stiff upper lip---but I was crushed. Crushed all day.
- I am grateful to realize that it is not fair for me to pass off my kids to Danny when they are in their most difficult states. I have them 90% of the time. So when the going gets tough and Danny is there---he is the first person I think of to rescue us. That isn't fair.
- I am grateful for the reminder that I am not perfect (not that everyday is not filled with those reminders). I have to let go---do and be my best. Focus on the love we have for each other and try to help one another with all of our strengths and weaknesses. I need to be ok with all of it.
- I am grateful that it has taught me to be gentle---with my family, with strangers and just life in general.
Thank you Mandy for the inspiration! It has taken the pain away (again...sorry for the drama!). I am actually looking forward to looking through my pictures! I will post them soon! Maybe I will even make a book of our trip! Woohoo!
P.S. I loved this that I read today! "Embrace that I am not perfect." I love it! :) That is a great mom list!