I was really scared before the trip. I was sure I would wreck everything and no one would have fun. I would be too bitchy and by the end I wouldn’t have friends any more. I like it when my paranoia is proven wrong. Still friends.
My best moment came on the third day in the park. Miss 2 Year Old was pretty darn worn out. When we sat down to eat lunch her mommy gave her a water cup to share with Mr 5 Year Old. Miss 2 Y.O. thought that was the worst thing evar. Lots of crying and screaming. The parents of Miss 2 Y.O. were both kind of frustrated and fried at that point. It had been a long week already.
I scooped Miss 2 Y.O. up and walked outside with her. We had a lovely chat. We talked about how much sharing sucks sometimes. It doesn’t feel fair. We talked about how sometimes when you have big feelings you just have to use a big voice and when we have to use a big voice… ask a grown up to take you outside until you are done using your big voice. It’s ok to have big feelings and a big voice…. but we don’t do that inside the restaurant. We talked about how it wasn’t brother’s fault they have to share–that was Mommy’s decision. It isn’t very nice to scream at brother because you don’t like something Mommy decided. I told her that she probably made her brother sad and she had this dawning horror facial expression.
I fucking love two year olds. They wear their hearts on their sleeves.
When we went back inside she apologized to her brother for screaming and the rest of lunch went pretty well. She was ready for a nap after lunch, but that happens when you are two.
Helping people negotiate their big feelings feels so rewarding for me. I love it. That right there was my favorite moment of the trip. I felt proud of her, I felt proud of me, I felt grateful that I learned the words to help the process go more smoothly. When I get a moment like that right I feel like I should jump up and down and scream from joy. I did it! I did it! I did it! I DID IT!!!!!
Ahem. Which is to say–I get such moments wrong pretty often. Sometimes there isn’t a thing I can say to help it work out. Sometimes I don’t have the patience to walk a kid through the steps. When I do it right I feel waves of relief. Oh thank goodness I didn’t do everything wrong.
Overall I feel that Miss 2 Y.O. and Mr 5 Y.O. were better behaved in Disneyland than many older children and adults I have brought to the park. I was ridiculously impressed with their stamina given that they are not used to so much walking and physical stress. I can’t walk out of there saying, “We did _____ wrong.” Which is pretty perfect. Usually I spend trips being upset with myself for something I did wrong. I think we collectively nailed it. Even the grown ups did well. We got tired and kind of cranky by the end but we did well.
Yay all of us! I’m so excited when a group event goes well. I’m having more of those experiences and I feel so grateful. Frankly, this went about as well as the group camping trips have gone and those were my previous positive most-successful stories of group trips. I’m so excited. We had a trip together and we are still friends and they still want to do things with me in the future. I’m not in trouble. I’m not bad.
Oh thank goodness.
Part of what made it so awesome was, no one acted like they are too good to work. Not everyone had the ability to contribute in the same ways every day–people vary and all that–but everyone worked. The kids did stuff when they were asked to help. All four of the grown ups cheerfully took driving/cooking/cleaning shifts without acting like there are any genital configurations that indicate abnormal abilities in any of these areas. No one acted entitled. Everyone acted like they were grateful to be there.
I feel like I am having great success with teaching my family culture “We do not shirk”. If there is work to be done no one sits on their fucking ass to watch me fucking work I don’t fucking think so. As a result we were unpacked from the trip by 10am the next day. Then we can have a day to sit around on our screens being idle and resting. No resting until the work is done, yo.
I had such issues around everyone watching my aunt work when I was a kid. We will not be reenacting the Auntie-As-Martyr role. Nope. Auntie thought it was easier to just do things herself than to teach other people how to do things. As a result she got into her 70’s and she was still waiting hand and foot on her three disabled almost totally incompetent-at-caring-for-themselves adult children. Their various disabilities aren’t why they can’t care for themselves. They couldn’t care for themselves when they were healthy, either. The disabilities came long after the incompetence.
To this day I consider one of the greatest compliments I have ever received to be when a friend saw me at an event and told people to get out of my way because there is work to be done, “If there is work to be done Lenora/Krissy won’t be sitting down until it is done.” Now that’s the kind of recognition a service slave lives for. Made my heart beat faster. I’m viewed as a worker! That’s not really a high status occupation or anything. Shouldn’t be such an honor, but I’ve worked damn hard to be perceived as a worker. Heh. Everything is relative.
It will be a few years before I have the points to take these friends to Disneyland again. I can’t wait. It will be fun and wonderful. I’m super thrilled that I am going to get to see these kids age in the park. Lots of pictures were taken. Many will be taken next time too as a comparison.
Sometimes I feel weird about the fact that I’m getting more mercenary as I age. If someone won’t allow me to feel competent and ok when we hang out together… I need to spend time with people who will allow me to feel like I’m ok. I’m not perfect, I’m not ideal, I’m not a goddess or anything like that. But I need to have my friends think I’m ok and not bad. I still set people off so often. It feels very important for me to self-select into the company of people who think I am doing ok.
Which is probably why the vast majority of my relationships are with other traumatized people–they have more patience with me. People who don’t understand “why I’m freaking out” don’t have patience for the fact that I’m actually doing well these days. Really well.
I feel a little cocky. See! I can make it work such that no one leaves feeling annoyed with me! I just have to pick the audience really well.
I feel like in the past there were always some people in groups who were ok with me and I have a bad habit of only focusing on the people who I have issues with. If I have issues with one person out of eight I might remember the trip as a failure because I’m an idiot. I’m not saying that everyone else is a problem, I’m saying I have issues with having one emotion break out and completely dominate all of my other emotions. I’m saying it is hard for me to feel good about things that are a mixed bag. Not because it is anyone else’s fault.
I’m frankly shocked that I kept my emotions in line for a whole week such that my friends got a halo-effect from me being happy and thinking they were awesome. It’s as much about my emotional/chemical soup as it is about other peoples behavior. Which feels kind of awful. I know that when I’m having bad days I perceive other people negatively in ways they don’t earn. I feel pretty bad about that.
But right now, this last week I had a victory. It’s ok to celebrate victories. I wasn’t a horrible person. I wasn’t an asshole. I didn’t alienate people. They still want to be friends with me. We left talking about the next time we will do this together. (It’ll take a few years to save up points after the cross country trip.)
That’s a win.
I feel kind of twitchy about dropping as much money on the bi-costal pass as we did. I spent more than $3,000 on Disney passes. I feel like I’m about to choke. But that is all-access to both Disneyland parks and all five amusement parks at Disney World and the two water parks at Disney World. We will be in Florida for three weeks. We will have eight days in Disneyland over the year. That’s enough days that passes are paid for in terms of days in the park. Kind of insane. Not kind of–completely and totally overwhelmingly insane. Being rich is crazy.
I’m really enjoying my life. I feel so lucky.