Twinkle, Twinkle In His Eyes

It was completely unmistakable. It was a light I had never seen in the two years he’s been on this earth. I knew there would be excitement, but to what level, I was unsure. Truthfully, I’m not sure who was more excited about the trip.

We climbed into the mini-van (something I protested from the moment we rented it, and something I will NEVER drive) and started out on our trek to the most magical place in all the land…the home of Mickey Mouse himself. That’s right, we were on our way to Disney World!

Cinderella's Castle

As we made our way along the winding Buena Vista Lake Boulevard, I watched as Davey took everything in. I worried he may have a small case of whiplash as his head moved from one window to the next. There were larger than life statues of Mickey and Goofy and Minnie and Donald. With each one we passed, Davey would scream with delight, “Look, Mama, it’s Mickey! Hi, Mickey. Bye, Mickey.” And so he went with each character statue we encountered before parking the mini-van.

Then, of course, there was the tram to take us to the entrance from the parking lot. Wow! That part was free (well, not really considering that it was $17 to park) and I was amazed as to how exciting it was for him. Just seeing the look on his face made the long drive worthwhile, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. The real excitement was still to start.

Riding the Tram

After entering Disney World and riding the Monorail (which definitely topped the tram) to the Magic Kingdom, I watched the sense of overwhelming excitement engulf Davey. He stood frozen for a few moments, unsure where to start. What was he to see first? Who was going to be around the corner? The vibrant colors of the shops on Main Street USA coupled with the beautiful rainbow of flowers, the singers dashing out from the trolleys in their Soda Pop uniforms and the amazing display of balloons was just the greatest thing in the world for Davey. Words can never describe what I saw on my son’s face. But that was just an inch into the tip of the iceberg.

Hello, Eyeore

Oh, Bother!

There was breakfast at the Crystal Palace with friends from the 1000 Acres Woods. We had Eyeore and Piglet, Pooh and Tigger all join us for breakfast. There were Mickey Mouse shaped waffles and Honey Pot yogurt, bacon and eggs, cereal and danishes, custom made omelets and breakfast pizzas. It was a meal fit for a king, or more like fit for the greatest fans of the greatest entertainment empire ever built.

Piglet!

Mickey Mouse breakfast

Davey’s face lit up with each character and at one point he yelled, “Pigwet, come see Davey. Pwease come see Davey.” I’m pleased that my boy is not afraid of the characters and eagerly hugged each one before getting autographs and pictures. Tigger was by far his favorite as he demonstrated what Tiggers love doing best…BOUNCING!

Woo-hoo-hoo, Tigger

After breakfast, there was Cinderella’s castle, riding on Dumbo’s back, a quick dash on Goofy’s Barnstormer, followed by a meet and greet with Stitch, a space battle with Buzz Lightyear, parades and Pirates of the Caribbean. We rode It’s a Small World twice and even toured a haunted mansion that didn’t seem to slightly scare my 2 & 1/2 year old. A lunch of Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream bars (it was vacation after all) and a train ride through the entire park quickly summed up our morning.

There were no naps that day, no real breaks, and very few meltdowns as Davey toured through the Magic Kingdom. He cried only slightly when it was time to leave.

Explorers

It’s been over 20 years since I was last at Disney World and I never experienced it as a young child Davey’s age. I guess I really never knew how exciting and wonderful this place could really be. What I wouldn’t give to have seen the whole thing through Davey’s eyes. What I wouldn’t give to know what was really going on in his brain as he sat quietly on his daddy’s shoulders and took in the Fantasyland Parade complete with a fire breathing dragon.

Fire Breathing Dragon

As the day winded down, we caught the tram back to our mini-van. Davey quickly recounted some of the exciting events of the day before finally succumbing to the exhaustion that seemed to plague all of us after a heat filled day of excitement. The day couldn’t have been better.

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Time Traveller

“Why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way?” – H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

As I sit here nursing Henry, I find myself occasionally glancing through the blinds of his bedroom at the world outside. I catch the beauty of our neighbor’s flower garden, or another one’s well manicured lawn, or the beautiful remodel of a front porch. I imagine what the inside of their houses must look like, clean and organized with a grand splendor about them. There are no chips in the paint on the wall, no lip prints on door windows or hand prints on the television screen. I bet they still have working blinds and non-scratched or chipped hard wood floors. How nice that must be. Then Henry stirs and a small moan seeps from his lips and I’m brought back into his bedroom.

I dare not budge, as he’s back to sleep, nuzzled into the crook of my arm. He reaches up and gently strokes my arm before taking another deep breath and falling back to sleep. And that is my cue to start daydreaming again about the beautiful houses my neighbors have, a house I once had BK (before kids).

I immediately transport myself (mentally) downstairs to the kitchen. How wonderful it was BK. It was clean, no crumbs or jelly handprints on cabinets. The kitchen table was a beautiful black, not chipped. I used to put a Christmas tree in the corner where a cardboard clubhouse has now taken up residence. I start thinking what the room will be like when I’m able to put that Christmas tree back up, about when I no longer have to scour the cabinets every half an hour. One would think I would become excited about the prospect, but instead a lump starts to form in my throat and I realize, when the toys are gone, my boys are grown.

Am I ready for that? Some days, YES! But most days? Not really. Before I know it, they’ll be grown and I’ll begin shuffling through the file cabinets of my brain, anxious to retrieve little memories. And what about my memories? How can I possibly retain them all? There is so much that is ongoing in their lives right now, so much I want to catalog and remember, so much that I wish Mr. H.G. Wells hadn’t just written a book on a time machine, but had instead created one.

What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back already and relive some of their “firsts”. How fabulous it would be to experience Davey’s first steps all over again. Sure, I have it on video, but it’s not the same. To actually be in the moment, even just an observer, to one of the most magical moments in my child’s life. There something completely different about being in the moment as opposed to watching a two-dimensional version of it on the screen. There’s a feeling of excitement, pride, happiness, and overwhelming joy. I find myself smiling about it right now. How wonderful it would be, but since we don’t have a time machine, then I just need to find a way to soak up as much of each moment as possible in their lives.

I need to stop fretting about my house, it’s not like we live in squalor. I need to just let it go, be a part of the now. So, my neighbors just got this awesome outdoor kitchen patio built onto the back of their house? They don’t get the joy of being a part of this amazing world of parenthood. They may not have peanut butter stained curtains (I did have those) or play doh encrusted carpet, but I got it all and something better…a lifetime of memories. I just wish I could take a day and go back and relive them all.

I can hope, just like the Time Traveller, that the opportunity will arise to see the past (the future can remain an enigma). Although, it’s highly unlikely. So, any of you super geniuses out there, please find a way to make a machine that I can climb in and, like Marty McFly, just punch in the date and witness history, MY personal history, again.

Extension of Life

Watching my boys grow is when I see him the most. At night, when Davey is acting silly or trying to squeeze in that one extra minute of playtime before bed is when I’m most reminded of him. Or the days when Henry is smiling so big and proudly reaching for my necklace, that’s when I know he’s still with me. It’s bittersweet sometimes because I would give anything for to be able to see his face again, to be able to see him watching my boys grow. I see him everyday in both of my boys and I’ve even found myself from time to time slipping and calling Davey by his name.

Nine years ago today, my parents and I sat in a hospital room at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, GA and prayed for what we hoped would be a cure or at least an extension of a life that was being cut much too short. Most people were panicking that day about the fact that they had waited until the last minute to file their taxes. We were panicking because we were unsure if the bone marrow transplant would even take.

A couple of days earlier we sat and listened to the doctor talk about concerns that the leukemia would come out of remission before he got his bone marrow transplant which meant he couldn’t have the transplant. I sat there and looked at my brother, who for the first time since he was first diagnosed with this horrible disease, showed genuine fear in his eyes as he asked, “does this mean I won’t get my transplant?”

Each year when this day comes around, I’m haunted by those words and I think back to the tortured look on my parent’s faces as they stood resolute and told my brother he would get his transplant. I look at my boys and I think about how wonderfully blessed our lives are, but also how quickly they can change in the blink of an eye. In the day to day frustrations of trying to raise a toddler who’s standing firm in the Terrible Twos and a 4 month old who’s eager to start mimicking in his older brother, I often take for granted that I’ll have the next day with my two healthy and happy boys.

My brother did get his bone marrow transplant on April 15th, 2005. By January 3rd of 2007, his leukemia was back and there was no longer any hope of another transplant. We prayed to God on that warm April morning and asked Him for an extension of Brian’s life. He answered our prayers, perhaps not giving us as long as we wanted with Brian, but He did extend his life.

Tonight, as I rocked Henry to sleep, I found my mind drifting off to my brother again and the significance of this day. I saw Brian in the sweet quivering of Henry’s lip, something he does a lot before drifting off to sleep. And before I wrote this blog, I saw the playful, yet mischievous nature of my brother in Davey as he decided he wanted to climb onto the back of the couch and try to walk on it like a tightrope. My brother is everywhere. He’s with me everyday, but I’ve never noticed it as much as when I became a mother to two boys who are mini-me versions of one of the greatest men I’ve ever known.

Twinkle Toes Doser

We’ve all had a desire to pursue some other path in life. Mine has always been to be in a musical, but only as an extra who dances just because my singing is cringe worthy. It’s almost like running your fingernails down a chalkboard. It’s bad, but I always thought it would be really neat to be a dancer in a musical. They’re always so elegant and sexy and classy and entertaining AND you can burn some serious calories (dancers always have some of the best bodies). Well, today I quickly found out that any dream I ever had of being an extra on Broadway or the next making of “Footloose” or “Grease”, has been snuffed out.

In my effort to lose 10 more pounds before the summer, I’ve decided to take some classes at the Y. Today offered up Zumba and it was my first official experience in this foray of exercise. At first, I thought how wonderful this would be. I could fulfill that life long dancing dream. How hard could it be? I mean I’ve been dancing my entire life and right now both of my boys seem to really be digging on my Mommy Moves and Grooves, which has me concerned about their eyes. How could they possibly enjoy what they are seeing especially if it’s anything like what I experienced for an hour this morning?!?!?

For those of you living in a hole for the past decade or so, Zumba is a dance exercise that combines mostly Latin dance moves with some low and high impact cardio workouts. There’s a lot of the samba, the shuffle, the hips twisting and shaking, and even a few spins and a cha-cha or two thrown in for good measure. There’s not much of a break between the songs as you jump right in from dance to dance and move to move.

First off, my hips don’t lie, but unlike Shakira, my hips have been telling me for quite so time that I have to rhythm. I suppose I’ve been living in a box for a while because I always thought I gyrated my hips quite well when the beat kicked up, but then again I’m never standing in front of a mirror the entire time either. I literally wanted to slap myself for doing this in public.

Second, I’m a stiff! Not like a Divergent Stiff, but a stiff when it comes to dancing. I lack grace and a lot of it. Picture a taller version of the “Elaine” from Seinfeld, but throw in a couple of trips when I should have been sashaying. I’m a disgrace! I’m worse than Billy Dee Williams on Dancing with the Stars! I can’t believe I ever danced in public (of course at that point I’d had some liquid courage so I was oblivious to how awesome I danced).

I don’t know what was more exhausting, though. Literally trying to keep up with the instructor or mentally trying to figure out how to raise my arms and shuffle my feet at the same time. I’ll do it again, if for no other reason than the facts that it’s a good calorie burner and I’m sure to provide comic relief to the class. On the plus side, I now have yet another way to embarrass my boys in public. Dun Dun Dun!

But it’s pretty safe to say that I will NEVER be a dancer which really saddens me. I’d always kept that in my back pocket. 🙂