Feeling the sharp pangs of the special and localized mom-guilt that comes when your attention is divided because you now have two kids, Erinn and I decided to give our first-borns some much needed one-on-one time and planned a mommy-son double date to Disney on Ice.
Full disclosure, I am not a Disney person. Don’t get me wrong, the movies are the best and completely frame my childhood. I’ll watch anything Pixar in the theaters with or without children, and I can belt out the full operetta from every Disney film produced after 1990. But the whole Disney World, rides, full-body character costumes, and even the mouse himself just don’t give me the same nostalgic feels that every other red-blooded American seems to get. Maybe I’ve heard the “Hot Dog” song one too many times. Maybe it goes back to my mom’s uber-efficient and meticulously plotted map of attractions that had to be visited in a specific order. Maybe Florida makes me sweaty. I don’t know what it is, but I do know that aside from the films themselves, Walt and me just ain’t meant to be.
But I do know that Disney is crack cocaine for the kiddos, and anything that puts that special glimmer of awe into my son’s eyes is elixir to my mom-soul, so I was beyond excited to spend this day with him without having to feed, change, bounce, hold, or chase the baby. The show began, and the first moment of magic occurred. This four-year-old boy who demands every ounce of his independence climbed into my lap and let me hold him for two hours. Mom soul=jelly.
Once I got over the pure joy of just breathing in the scent of my first baby, which sounds kinda creepy when you write it down, but absolutely every mom knows what I’m talking about, I settled in and started watching the show. And, you guys, this is when the second moment of magic occurred. I started crying. Like for reals. Through Belle’s goodness, through Cinderella’s hope, through Rapunzel’s optimism–all imagined through the lens of semi-pro ice skating–the tears just flowed down. Damn you, Walt. You cut to the core of me.
So I’m super embarrassed, because who cries at Disney on Ice? The lights come up for intermission, and I’m wiping my tears on the back of my kid’s shirt, when I turn to Erinn. In this moment, my love for her was never more palpable because she says to me, “I don’t know why, but I’m having a really emotional reaction to this show.” Pure. Relief. Thank God I’m not the only one sobbing like a moron because Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are literally flying in ice skates and the Beast just ice-morphed into a really hot prince.
I don’t know why I reacted this way to an ice show. Gratitude for the chance to devote all my attention to the child who so patiently stepped aside so I could care for the second? Perhaps. Fatigue as a result from attempts to sleep-train a ten month old? Maybe. Final release from the breath I’ve been holding since everything in the world became scary and volatile and I just needed to be reminded that there are things that are still pure and good? Likely. All I know is that for today, that mouse got me.