Her daddy gave her the choice and I crossed my fingers that she would say, “I’m tired. Let’s go back to our hotel.”
She didn’t. She made a wiser choice.
Which explains why at 10:30 at night, the four of us – my 6-year-old granddaughter, her daddy, his fiancé and me, all of us absolutely drenched from the 45-minute torrential rainstorm at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom – could have kept on walking right out the gate, rested our weary feet and gotten ready for the next day, but didn’t.
Miss Kylah chose to see the fireworks. And what a wise choice she made. I couldn’t have done better if I’d tried.
The magnificent light and firework show thrilled, chilled and delighted, though that was secondary to the sheer delight on Kylah’s face.
We started our day at 7:45 having breakfast with Minnie, Mickey and some of the other characters and 15 hours later, when the last spark faded out of the night sky, we boarded the monorail and called it a day. For the rest of my life I will remember our lovely Florida visit and my special privilege of being the grandma to a precious, precocious and wise little girl.
I came to the park a bit jaded. I had gone to Disneyland in California as a young woman. When we lived in Florida from 1983 through 1992, and my boys were small, we went to Disney World fairly often. It seemed like it was a lot of hot, an extreme amount of line-standing, and awful, awful lot of money. My son said going in, this time, “All I can say is, I sure hope this is worth it.”
It was. And I will say, Disney has upped their very good game to excellent in the 26 years between visits. We lucked out to have gotten to go with a little girl who had the mindset she was going to a magical place and she needed to enjoy as much of it as her little 6-year-old heart, mind and body could handle.
A tiny side note, at Epcot on Thursday, Kylah was walking along beside my cart. We were headed toward France to find some ice cream, and this was some four hours after her daddy had said he’d hit 10,000 steps on his Fit-Bit. She’d matched him and then some because it takes about four of her steps to equal his one.
She said to me, “Grandma, my feet are getting a little tired, but I know, soon as we sit down and have our ice cream, I’ll be fine.”
Yes. That’s my girl.
But all of that’s to say, this. We spent a total of almost 30 hours in two days at two Disney theme parks. We did the requisite line standing, a little shopping – well we all had to have mouse ears of one type or another – experienced the thrills and the fun. At the same time thousands of other people and families were going for the same fun, memorable experience. There were people speaking a variety of languages, people with skin tones dark and light, people rich and poor, and people quite able and people who were struggling. Not once in all those hours, through all those waits, and with all those people did I hear a cross word between any of them.
I watched with pride as my son thanked the cast members for doing their jobs. He didn’t have to, but he works in the service industry. He understands the salve of appreciation.
We were kind to each other, polite, helpful if we could possibly be. I went on a sabbatical from news and politics. All those things I can’t begin to fix, all the craziness and ugliness I can’t correct that I raise my blood pressure over on social media? Forgotten and ignored.
If only, it could last. I am going to try and see what I can do to keep the feeling. The rules are simple enough. Stay the course of kindness. Remain grateful. Count every little blessing. Always be glad to have “enough.” Decide to be satisfied, but keep looking for the magic.
The choices are still mine. They always have been.
But oh, thank you Miss Kylah for teaching me, that, if I’m ever standing in front of a castle, soaked to the bone from a rainstorm, and I have the chance to stay and see the fireworks, or go back to the hotel to sleep, to choose the fireworks.