Thursday, October 21, 2010

a new perspective

A few weeks ago I was riding in the car with my friend Mandy.  We passed a Disneyland billboard---and she caught me rolling my eyes.  "You really have to change that experience.  You have to re-think it and feel grateful for it." she wisely counseled.

  • 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!


Tebbs Family said...

Oh Carin, I hadn't heard that experience and am so sorry that you ever had to hear those UNTRUE words! You are one of THE most deserving moms I know and we've all unintentionally lost one of our kids at one time or other (some kids lose themselves later in life for other reasons which would absolutely kill me if that happened...) Glad you're moving on. Plus, I would hate for you to have that feeling toward Disneyland forever since that's one of my favorite places on earth!!!

Nita said...

I lost Marfk in Disneyland when he was 5, Stan wasn't with us I couldn't call and tell him. We found Mark but I know just how you felt.

nikki said...

I never heard about the comment that lady made! How inappropriate! You are one of the greatest moms I know. I love watching you and Danny interact with your girls. You are both so caring and nurturing. Don't give it another thought because she is absolutely WRONG! What a crazy lady! She probably lost her kid later that day :) Karma!

peewee said...

I AM SOOOOOOO GLAD you're over this!! I would have KILLED to have a mom like you. KILLED.

The thing is, we just NEVER know what goes on/has gone on in someone else's life. Maybe that woman's child died recently or maybe SHE had a near miss that she blames herself for, and she took it out on you. Maybe she miscarried that week. Maybe she's just a crazy unhappy person. You just never know. BUT what you DO know, through YEARS of evidence, is that you VERY VERY VERY much deserve those girls. That you know :)

One thing my yoga teacher taught me that has always stuck is "hurt people hurt people." I TRY my very best to remember this when someone has done something mean and horrible to me.

I hope this all means you'll be posting more! AND LOTS more trips to my house...I mean, disneyland.

peewee said...

1. LOVE the pic
2. My mom took my brother and his friends to Knotts Berry Farm when he was 5. SHe got all the way home, an hour away, and realized she left one of the boys. So, hey! There's that! It's the big family joke now. You'll all laugh about this one day :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Some people are soo rude!
It is obvious you love your girls dearly. I am sorry this happened to you.
I'm looking forward to seeing more pictures from your trip:) xox

Jeanette said...

Wow, what a horrible thing to say to anyone! Your that much more fabulous to take those words and make something positive out of it! What a wonderful example and Moma your girls have!

Flash Jorgensen said...

Thank you for sharing something so honest and real in your life. Posts like this make us all look at our lives a little and evaluate our own. It helps all those that read it in some way or another. Whether we are like you in the story or the judgmental woman. You're awesome and I happen to think your NOT a fraud and am sad that even crossed your mind. I LOVE the picture and think it's a perfect moment. I'm glad it all turned out well. As for that stupid button... next time I'm at Disney I think I might go in and say something about what a crappy thing those "reunited" buttons are. I would have thrown it in the trash too!!! Really? Who would wear such a thing? What a waste of money!!! They could charge us a little less and NOT make those!!!

Tammy Taylor said...

You are the best mom I know, I love when we visit and I get to watch you interact with your girls. Remind me to tell you about when we lost Phoebe. We can't wait to see you guys next month!

sherri said...

I am always shocked about the nasty things some people say to a complete stranger. I've been thinking about what you wrote for a few days, and I just wanted to come back and tell you how sorry I am that this happened to you. We've all had moments like this, and it's not because we are bad mothers at all. I tend to let things like this take over and they make me question everything about myself, too. But I hope that you don't! Don't believe such an ugly lie! Love and hugs for you! ♥

Cristi said...

WOW! I can feel the sting of that lady's words, as I'm sure they stung you. Some people are seriously so rude and thoughtless. The other day I accidentally parked in a parking spot that was assigned to someone else here at our apartment complex and I HONESTLY did not know. When he saw me come back to my car, he chewed my out like I had tried to murder him and his entire family and how could I be such a liar and such a horrible, wretched person. I kept saying "It was an accident! I'm sorry!" But he wouldn't hear it. I wrote a note on his car the next morning saying that good people make mistakes and it's ok, etc. I'm so sorry that someone would say such a terrible thing to. It couldn't be further from the truth. Much love to you!!!

*J*E*N* said...

Carin- I have been telling you this for months.... I guess you weren't ready to put it behind you. It's like someone telling Sarah Mclachlan that she has a horrible voice... there has never been a statement as ridiculous as this ever muttered by some stupid lady trying to make someone else feel bad to build herself up. Im glad that you can view it as a learning lesson.

I still would of punched that lady in the face if I was there and you know it!!!!!

dede said...

so, when are we going back??? And don't worry (best mom I know) I have your pin - grabbed it, since no one bothered to give me one after I lost Chase (who was REALLY lost)! Let me know when you want it back ;)
I love you!!

Angie said...

I still can't laugh about handing off McKay in Sea World to Darren and then turning around minutes later and seeing Darrens empty was the worst 15 minutes of my life. AND NO ONE CAME POINTING A JUDGMENTAL FINGER...
We all do it, judge people, that is...but how wrong it is! Your experience is a reminder of how hurtful it can be.