It’s been a while, which I knew it likely would be. We’ve had a combination eventful/uneventful few weeks. Of course, we went to Disney World in the middle of September. What an amazing time we had! We were able to keep it a secret for 7 long months. We’d originally planned to go in February but all came down with the flu, so rescheduled for September. I’m thankful that it happened that way because I think it was what every one of us needed. The entire drive down Adelyn was so confident we were going to the beach, the look on her face when we pulled around the corner and she saw the “Walt Disney World” sign overhead… it was priceless! That alone probably made the whole trip worth it. Even though Miller and I couldn’t participate in much, we still had an amazing time. It was nice to be able to spend some one on one time with him, particularly at a place like that! And I can confidently say that John felt likewise about Adelyn (he got to take her on all the fun rides!)
As magical as our time there was, there was also a bittersweet component. It wasn’t until we’d gotten in the car and were headed down Highway 16 that the thought occurred to me, this would be the only time our sweet Ethan would ever experience Disney World. To allow my mind to take hold of that idea was difficult, to say the least. John and I will never be able to surprise him, as we did Adelyn and Miller. We’ll never see the look of pure delight while riding through It’s a Small World or Dumbo the Flying Elephant. He’ll never get to watch in awe as the Storm Troopers march through the center of Hollywood Studios or Indiana Jones’ stuntman swings from vines. Also, for the first time, I sat staring at Miller as he marveled at these things and wondered what our son would look like if we ever had the chance to watch him grow up. Would he have Adelyn’s white-blonde hair? Miller’s beautiful blue eyes? Adelyn’s precious heart or Miller’s defiant personality? We sat on our balcony one evening watching the fireworks illuminate the sky over the Magic Kingdom and it was yet another “we’ll never get this with Ethan” moment. We still tried, nonetheless, to make the very most of our time there with him. We celebrated him with pictures in front of Cinderella’s castle and the Tree of Life (all too fitting).
As I write this, I’m brought back to a song that (again) my friend April shared with me at the beginning of this journey (I told you she’s awesome!). In it, the mother/songwriter talks about the plans she had and things she wanted to do with her daughter. But she then comes to the realization that God has plans for her baby far bigger than anything she could fathom. The song is called “I Will Carry You” by Selah (the mother also wrote a book about her experience, same title as the song and HIGHLY recommended for anyone in a similar situation). It has been… an incredible inspiration to me these months, and I know will continue to be for many more to come. There is nothing on this Earth that could ever compare to the eternity that our son will spend with our Saviour. In this my heart finds peace, however fleeting it may be… until the grief takes over again. I will warn you, should you choose to go searching YouTube or Apple Music for this song… have a tissue on hand. It gets me every time. <3
There is a piece of our trip that I specifically want to share. When we returned to our hotel room after visiting Animal Kingdom on our 3rd day there, I regretted not getting a family picture in front of the Tree of Life. I’d gotten one with the kids and me, and the kids and John, but none of the 5 of us together. And I couldn’t. let it. go. I knew that by the time the kids woke up from their nap they’d be starving and ready for dinner. There would never be time to go back that day and get it during daylight hours. It continued to plague me so I thought I’d see if we could go back and get it done on another day before we left. It came down to the morning we were headed home and I insisted that we make one stop at Animal Kingdom. I shared our “story” with a gentleman at concierge in hopes that he may be able to help us. He directed us straight to Animal Kingdom to speak with someone there. Once there, I walked to the ticketing window, gave another brief overview and was told that as much as she wished she could help, I needed to speak with someone at Guest Relations.
At this point I’d held my composure quite well but wasn’t sure how long that would last. I walked to the line at Guest Relations and encountered a “fielder” (you know, the people who tag you for the right line based on your inquiry). Rather than giving detail, because at this point I just felt like a pity-monger, I simply asked if there was any way that we could get in to take a family picture in front of the tree- because we missed our opportunity on our ticketed day. She informed me that without a ticket we couldn’t enter the park. Still, I maintained my emotions long enough to begin to rehash our situation, AGAIN. Less than half way through I couldn’t do it anymore and broke down into an embarrassing ball of tears. She kindly stopped me and suggested I speak with someone at the window- at which point I cried harder. I told her that I’d already told this story 3 times in a matter of 30 minutes and just couldn’t do it again. From there, she took over and said that she would be back in a moment. I was SO embarrassed. People were staring, I was sweaty and weeping, my kids were completely confused, and my husband was fanning me with a map (sweet, absolutely- but only drew more unwanted attention)… it was a mess! But low and behold, not 2 minutes later another woman walked up and kindly asked us to come with her. She walked us in to the park and took all of the pictures we wanted before escorting us back out.
Aside from the generosity of the people working to accommodate our request, there was another blessing in the whole thing. The woman who helped get us in to the park and took our pictures put her arm around my shoulder as we walked and said, “I can relate to what you are going through.” Her daughter lost her baby, unexpectedly, at 8 months pregnant. The baby had gotten it’s umbilical cord wrapped around its neck and her daughter had to deliver to baby after it had already gone to be with Jesus. My heart broke for both of these women. I absolutely can not imagine what suffering they must have endured during this time. To make matters more difficult, her husband (the baby’s father) was deployed to the Middle East when this took place. She was alone and in one of the most tragic positions I can possibly imagine. As I’ve said before, I don’t believe that any person’s circumstances are worse or greater than another’s, they are just different. But this… oh I think that could break me. But they are a faithful family. And I knew she was sent to us at that moment to share her story, and for us to share our faith with each other. It was such an incredible blessing to me, one that I never want to forget!
As usual, I am more long-winded than I ever intend to be. When I think I don’t have much to say it always turns out to take up more space and time than I had anticipated. There is more that I want to share, but it is equally as important to me as this special time that we spent at Disney, so I want to make adequate space and time for it as well. So, until my life slows down again, enough for me to squeeze in 20 minutes worth of typing… this will do! God Bless!