Monday, May 6, 2013

Disney: Day Four.

As soon as my feet hit the floor on day four of our trip, the reality of why we were there smacked me right in the face.  I was overcome with total gratitude but an overwhelming sadness.  It was easy to look around the resort and see joy, fullness, excitement and dreams coming true.  But it was also easy to look around and see that between every smile and giggle was a tired mother, a distant father, and broken siblings who had endured an incredible amount of suffering before being given this gift of a lifetime.
 There was no denying that, for the first time in her little life, Mabel looked sick.  There were several kids with cancer and several children in wheelchairs but almost all of them were self sufficient in some ways.  Mabel is completely dependent on us and although she is our baby and it is easy to treat her as such, she is also big.  She is growing and changing and the appearance of disease is more evident than ever before.  Most of the time I don't see it.  Most of the time it is hard to even go back to a place of sadness or grief.  It's even difficult to remember that I lived in that place at one time.  But on this day, I couldn't help it.  I just needed to feel the heaviness, I suppose.

 Day four was our big event day.  Part of Mabel's wish was being able to meet the Disney princesses-all of them.  More than anything this particular event was directed at Nora.  I was so thrilled that Make-A-Wish is so dedicated to focusing on families and the entire experience for everyone.  
Siblings of sick children often get overlooked, overpowered and overshadowed.  I have tried desperately to not let that happen and this was just another opportunity to pour my desires into making things special for the big kids. 

 We arrived at Epcot early so that we could do a few little things before our reservations with the princesses would be ready.  It gave us time to pace ourselves and it was a pretty leisurely day.  Epcot is stunning.

 The excitement on Nora's face was worth the wait of the entire trip.  The day was beautiful with a few little rain drops and it was the perfect afternoon to take it slow and enjoy their little expressions.

  I can't possibly count the number of times that Jeni and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes on this trip.  The little things they say, the little ways they showed their enthusiasm.  The comments that other people made or the magic that overflowed from everything we experienced.  It was the most remarkable thing to be able to be a part of and to share in with my sister.  

 The first princess that we met was Belle.  
Nora looked stunning next to her and Braden was just shocked at how lovely they all looked.
 We were to be served a three course meal.  Jeni and I chose fancy chicken and the kids had a hot dog and some other sides.  It was such a neat experience. 

 We all waited patiently for the princesses to start making their way to us.


 Princess Aurora [Sleeping beauty]
 Snow White. 

 And last (but very not least) the princess of Nora's heart...
The first thing she said to my girl?
"I have a princess twin here today!"
Melt my heart, mermaid.  Melt my heart. 

 During our lunch, the princesses called a parade.  All of the children were asked to join...

 And I think you can see that Dreams Really Did Come True on this fourth day of Disney...

 After our big lunch we headed back to the pool for more swimming.  
I took a book and read with my sunglasses on as the redheads swam and played.  Jeni was with Mabel back at the resort so she could calm down from the excitement of the day.  That was by far her favorite part of the trip-laying in the middle of the big, soft, white bed to rest.

As I sat by the pool and read, my heart ached once more for our truth.  It's been so long since I have allowed myself to think about the grim reality of Mabel's future and yet on this hot, beautiful day in the middle of paradise, I was broken.  I sobbed behind tinted glasses and allowed myself time to do so.  I looked around and saw the aching of hearts all around me.  Many moms were emotional at different times in the week and I was just allowing myself the space to do the same.  

After a good cry and a good shower, I felt a release like I haven't in a long time.  
God set me free on Day Four of Disney from so many things in this life.  And I walked away from the pool that day knowing with certainty that I am able to move on and be happy with all that I have been given.
It's all still so much more than I deserve and God chose to gift me with it all anyway.  
I'm just so humbled at the knowing.
 We returned back to epcot later that night for the only set of fireworks that we would end up seeing in Disney.  We met an older couple who sat beside us who asked about Mabel and I was able to share that we were on our Make-A-Wish trip.  There were only 2 other occasions that I shared with anyone about her during the week long stay and it felt good to not have to, and also to be able to when asked.   

 We were all so tired from the day.  Fireworks were late yet beautiful.
I looked at Jeni several times and talked with her about life on this trip but this night (whether she knows it or not) was a turning point for me in my life.  
I felt the coolness and rest of a loving God wash over me and it changed me.  

 From this point on, I knew that what I said before we left, "that you surely couldn't come home from Disney unhappy" was absolutely true. 



Have tears in my eyes & my heart breaks for you. Your faith is so strong I am glad He carries you through & that you found a release you so needed while there. Praying for you & the lil ones as always & hope Mabel has recovered from the trip some.

Ashleigh said...

I read every single entry and feel like I never have a meaningful thing to say. Just a comment to say "Hi, I'm reading and think of you often", and to thank you for sharing your Disney memories <3

Andy and Jenni said...

I don't regret not taking Celia to Disney when Make A Wish offered, but all your words here sure have me wishing we could take the boys now. Better start saving :)
So glad your family enjoyed such a special time together!! Love seeing all the photos and reading your recaps...

Amy said...

Again, tears run down my face as I read your blog. Lifting you ALL up in my heart with prayer, my friend. I think this is your best writing yet. It is so real & raw...I'll be in line to buy your book whenever it gets published :)Love ya R.

Pam Allen said...

crying. Ariel's comment got to me. my sweet redhead just met Ariel in February and it was magical. God Bless Make A Wish! So glad you got such an amazing trip!