Monday, May 20, 2013

The Magic of Relationships

We just returned home from another Magical Disney trip.  To those of you who think we go all the time... you're right.  To those who don't get it... I don't blame you.  To those who always want to go in our suitcases... I don't blame you either.

After our first trip, Dan immediately started planning our second.  By our third, I would roll my eyes each time he mentioned "next time..."  Seriously.  I love to travel.  I love a good vacation.  Why not go somewhere else?  While I know the pastries are amazing in Epcot's France, they're actually pretty good in Real France, too... why not go there?  Or more local?  Sure.  There are tons of places our car can drive to... let's look there instead?

But Dan was hooked.  And now E was, too.  There was no turning back.

Our trips quickly became part of "us".  We were able to mark growth of our little girl in recognizing which rides she was able to ride- both because of height requirements and because of her own trepidation after a not-so-great moment on Thunder Mountain.  We noted restrooms where we'd first changed diapers, then took a "big girl" shortly after she was potty trained, then later allowed her to go into her own stall.  We experienced the luxury of meeting up with friends at various points along the way and have those memories engrained in our hearts forever.

So whether or not I planned to be a Disney Mom, I became one.

This most recent trip ranked up there among my very favorites.  We had some new experiences- The Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot was new for us, as well as the whole reason for this trip: Star Wars Weekend! Dan had booked the trip back in February as a Daddy/Daughter trip for just him and Elizabeth.  It was to be their one last Disney hoorah before the baby came.  We knew it would be a while before we'd make it back as I'd already declared I would not travel with an infant.  I had planned to stay home and have time to prep the nursery... and relax.  Once we lost the baby, Dan immediately booked my airfare.  Apparently there would be no relaxing, but instead my mental health would be cared for with Mickey Bars and fireworks.

So off we went in search of Jedis and healing in the land of the Mouse.

(**An added bonus of this trip was that our dear friends, the Pettys, were going to be there for their Make-a-Wish trip.  Miss Leah (and her siblings) added to the joy of our "new" experiences.)

On our Epcot day, we had just finished the Nemo ride in The Seas and E wanted to explore the aquarium/learning area.  I honestly thought she might want to skip that and head out in search of more rides.  Thankfully, she did not.  We went upstairs to check out the exhibits... and I couldn't leave.  The dolphins.  Oh, the dolphins.

Quick side story: I've been a big dolphin fan since our honeymoon when we were able to watch them from our resort both morning and night as they went to feed.  We continue to seek out the dolphins when we're at the beach.  There's just something so majestic about them!  The dolphins this trip provided the same awe-inspiring experience for me.

Eventually Dan and E went off to play in the shark learning area, while I stayed and watched these amazing creatures.  I'll admit that while I love Disney, I don't love that the dolphins are in such a small area.  There were two of them on the side of the tank where I was, and appeared to be at least 2 on the other side.  One of them never left the "window" in between where he/she could see the other dolphins.

I watched these dolphins for a long time.  I wondered what it was that connected them.  Was one the other's baby?  The other's mate?  Was one just curious what was on the other side of the "window"?  Or could they see the treats that were being given to the other?  Was it merely environmental?  Or was it relational?

Dan and I debriefed this for a while after he finally pried me away from the window.  I'll never know what it was.  My guess is that it was relational... probably because that's my view of the world.  I long for connection and I ache when it is taken from me.  Like that dolphin, I'll often times ignore the rest of my "tank"... and even the freedom that it brings... by hanging on to the relationship just on the other side of the window.  My hope is that I'm able to balance life on both sides of the tank and focus on the relationships on my side... but I can't be sure I'm able to make that happen.

Leaving The Seas that day, I couldn't stop thinking about those dolphins.  And connections.  They were all around me at Disney.  People were celebrating family and princesses and characters and running for hugs and skipping to the next event.  And that's why I love Disney.  Not for the hype of the park- though I do get caught up in that as well- but for the connections that it brings.

Regardless of which side of the window you're on... there is magic in relationships.

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