This past weekend we went to Orlando. Christian was presenting at a conference and I thought hanging out by the pool all day with the kids sounded like fun. I also remember the four days Christian was in New Orleans last year as being very long and very hard. So, family vay-cay it was.
When we got there we realized that the pool was only outdoors and the forecast was for rain the next day. The thought of keeping the girls in a hotel room where the internet was out all day long by myself made me want to turn around and drive home, so I did what anybody would do.
I took two kids one and two to Disney World. By myself. It was mostly successful. We may have spent our entire time in fantasy land, riding Dumbo three separate times. The truth of the matter is that Disney is the most magical place on earth because it is chock full of parents who understand that you just payed 85 bucks a person to have a magical day and they are going to help you out. They are going to ask you do your kids want their extra cookies or lug your stroller on and off the tram. They are not going to give you the evil eye for the fit that your toddler is throwing because how in the name of Walt himself are you supposed to explain to a two-year-old that you are actually closer to riding the elephant by walking inside a tent away from the elephant, and then again explain that the playground you went to was really just a time suck and now it is her turn to ride the elephant (remember the fit you had twenty minutes ago? Nope, just this new fit? greeeaaaattt) They will tell you that it is okay and let you know as kindly as possible that your one-year-old is escaping out the back while you were dealing with the fit. Oooops.
Mostly, Disney was magic for me because it reminded me that I am good at this academic wife thing. I am the girl who will take two kids to Disney world by herself. And right now, that is who God is calling me to be. I’ve been praying for pixie dust, and what better place is there to get it than Disney world? I received pixie dust in the form of being reminded that with grace I am capable of manning the fort while Christian gets his academic on. Pixie dust came when there was always a dad to pull my stroller on and off the train. I got a huge sprinkling when Christian’s professor told me in the lobby of the hotel that he recognized the sacrifices I was making so that Christian could get this degree.
I expected the time and money sacrifices, but I don’t think I realized how lonely this stage in my life was going to be. Christian and I will go entire weeks where we essentially don’t see each other. He often finds out about my emotional state by reading my blog. It isn’t that he is being inattentive, it is simply that we have no time to talk after the did everyone poop okay today, are we out of diapers or milk sort of conversations are had. We are always tired. If you count my writing and his writing and my extra class at work and the whole parenting thing we have about 4 jobs between the two of us.
I don’t mean for this to be a list of complaints. I am sure, absolutely positive, that this is where God has our family right now. I know Christian belongs in grad school now, I know I am called to my work. I know these two crazy sisters we are raising are for this time and certainly for each other. I know this. But the leaning into it, the accepting of it, is just so hard sometimes.
It is so easy for me to look at the unmatched socks and the laundry piling up, the number of times we eat out, the toys strewn all over at the end of the day that no one has the energy to pick up, and proclaim that I am failing. That this thing is just too hard and I am not good enough. But the pixie dust showed me that maybe I am looking at the wrong things. If I looked at the smiling healthy girls, the papers of my students, my husband’s successes, my devotion to my friends, I would see that I am in fact doing this thing.
After all, I took two kids to Disney world. And not only did we survive, everyone came out smiling.