Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Starting My Day with Dumbo

Last week my husband and I took our family to Disneyland for a four-day vacation. As is our routine, we were up early every morning, aiming to get to the gate 30 to 45 minutes before opening. We have found that the first two hours are the best for getting on rides without waiting in long lines. As is also our tradition, we parted ways at the Walt and Mickey statue at the end of Main Street (after saying, “Good morning,” to Walt and Mickey, of course); my husband and all but our youngest child headed to Space Mountain while I and our youngest walked through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle on our way to FantasyLand to ride Dumbo.

I don’t remember with what child this tradition started, but somewhere back many years ago, I started taking the youngest child or children to ride Dumbo while my husband took the older kids to ride Space Mountain. As the years have gone by, the youngest child has changed and those that used to be youngest have moved up to the Space Mountain group. Our youngest child now knows she’s the youngest and, while she isn’t a fan of riding Space Mountain anyway, she has long made the pledge that she will always ride Dumbo with me first thing in the morning. In fact, just before this trip she wrote me a note expressing her joy at the upcoming vacation and said, “I will always ride Dumbo with you in the morning. Even when you die I will ride Dumbo in the morning.”

I have no interest in riding Space Mountain, but it’s not like riding Dumbo was ever tops on my list; it was just a good “little kid’s” ride that gets too busy later in the day so it’s a natural choice for an early-morning ride. However, somewhere along the way, the kids have come to believe that riding Dumbo in the morning is my favorite choice. This past trip, as my daughter and I got on Dumbo the first morning (we were the first, and only, riders three of the four days we were there – the fourth day it was raining and wet Dumbo seats didn’t appeal to either of us), I felt joyfully giddy about sharing this ride with my daughter; about starting my day with Dumbo. As the ride started to go around and we rose in the air, I leaned my head back, let the wind blow through my hair, took a deep breath and thought that this was, truly, the best way to start my day – in FantasyLand, riding a flying elephant with a child I love.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Old Lady Chairs

We have a little nook area off our kitchen that we call the Sun Room. Most recently it has been the home of a tall pub table with two stools and an overstuffed chair and ottoman. The initial idea was that it was supposed to look like a little French bistro, but the effect never quite happened and I always hated the overstuffed chair. So, several weeks ago, while sitting up late one night on my computer, I came across a set of chairs that I instantly fell in love with. I loved the style. I loved the fabric. I was ready for a change, so I ordered them as well as a matching ottoman. My kids were immediately appalled and dubbed them, “Old Lady Chairs”. I’m not an old lady, so I don’t see how my chairs can be Old Lady Chairs – I think they’d more appropriately be called Vibrant, Glad-to-be-my-Age Lady Chairs. Whatever they’re called, I don’t really care. I’m writing this from the comfort of my Old Lady Chair and I love it. The point is, when I walk into the kitchen and glance over at the nook, a sweet feeling goes through me and I smile. Pleasing to my eyes, comfortable to my body and smile-provoking – hard to ask more than that of a chair!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Taking Care of Me

Last April I wrote about having “because that’s what we do” as a family motto. Bringing my mother-in-law home to take care of her was because of that motto; it just didn’t seem as if there were any other options – that’s just what we do. We cared for her for only six weeks before she died and, while there were precious moments and wonderful memories we will treasure, there was also the stress of caring for someone around the clock, the stress of changed schedules, the stress of dealing with the frustrations of dementia. But we did it because that’s what we do; we get the job done. I was definitely tired during those six weeks and I felt a twinge in my back now and then from helping to lift my mother-in-law, but none of it was unbearable. Then, a few days after she passed away, I was in the car with my husband and I took a deep breath and exhaled – and I felt the stress leaving my body! For as long as I can remember I’ve been able to take a deep breath, exhale and feel a tingling sensation in my fingertips and toes. I’ve always believed that the tingling was stress exiting my body. That day in the car, I realized that it had been weeks since I’d felt that tingling sensation. At about the same time, the twinges in my back turned into a full-blown back ache. I realized that my body had been holding in the stress, holding back the pain – my body had been getting the job done and, now, that the job was over, my body could relax, start to expel the stress and let me know that I needed to deal with my back. “Because that’s what we do” and “Because we get the job done” are words that ring in my brain, yet my body, without my conscious knowledge, took on those thoughts and helped me get through a tough time. Now it’s time for me to take care of my body.