One of the big news stories this week is the reopening of Disney World in Orlando and, with Florida being one of the epicenters of the virus, there have been very polarizing opinions on the decision. Disney itself, in my experience, has always been a polarizing topic--you don't meet many people who could "take it or leave it" or are just "meh" about Disney in regard to the films, the parks, the institution as a whole. There seem to be those who can't stand anything Disney--the commercialism, the sugary-sweetness of it all--and then those who love Disney? Well, they don't leave you guessing, their minivan stickers say it all.
If you're one of the ones who could care less, no need to read on, this'll bore you to death. But for any Disney Superfans out there, I thought I'd share some questions I often get about my time working there and my experiences--the magical, the not-so-magical, and the just straight-up weird!
First I should provide a little context. On the Disneyfan spectrum, I land closer to Superfan status but am nowhere near the level of some guests I've seen at the park (I'll get into that later). Growing up in a small town in West Virginia, if a classmate got to go to Disney World it was a BIG, BIG deal (first of all...you're flying to Florida?!) I also grew up in what I consider the heyday of Disney animation--the trifecta of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty & the Beast were released when I was in the 9-12 year old age bracket, which just added to the fandom.
When we moved to Florida, as I entered middle school, I became more intrigued with all things Disney being that we were now living so close to the parks. In sixth grade I chose Walt Disney as the subject of a biography for writing class. I was fascinated by what I learned about him--his imagination, his vision, his love of family and Americana. I poured my heart and soul into that paper and clearly remember my teacher calling me up and tearing it to shreds, scoffing at both my writing ability and my dream to some day work for Disney (good call, lady).
The latest crisis within a crisis is the issue of whether or not school should resume in-person in August. Here in Florida the decision has been made that students will be returning with, in certain counties, the option to work virtually from home. When I wrote back in March that I felt the remainder of the year should be waived given that effective learning really couldn't occur in the shock of an unprecedented crisis, never in my wildest dreams (nightmares?) did I think we'd still be facing this--at this level--come August. At the time there were murmurings that we would likely be in this spot, but, probably like many others, I couldn't let my mind go there.
Well, here we are.
Unlike what it seems many people do, I won't write this with the intention of giving you my stance or strong opinion on what I believe you (or school districts or government officials) should do. (I know the last thing I need right now is another friggin' opinion.)
I also seem to be in the minority of Americans who acknowledge that
1-I'm not a trained medical professional or virologist,
2-I'm not a staunch Republican or die-hard Democrat who claims to have "The Answer" to this crisis,
3-I believe the truth in the statistics, data, and news probably lies somewhere in the middle.
So I don't have an answer for you, as I don't even have an answer for us yet. What I will offer is the only thing I can--my perspective on the whole thing and where I personally turn when it comes to making any tough decision (spoiler alert: it's not CNN or FOX).
“Babe, I’m taking him so you can get a break.”
This is what my husband said to me just about as soon as he hit the door after a long day at work yesterday. And off they went for a half-hour golf cart ride around the neighborhood looking for “dinosaur eggs” (aka coconuts—shh...don’t tell).
Fellas—this is it. It’s not as mysterious and difficult to figure us out as you sometimes make it out to be. If you want to make your girl swoon pre-kids, take her to dinner, bring her flowers. But, if you want to make Momma swoon, those words there at the top go a long way.
It’s our pleasure to take care of things all day but, at the end of it, just 30 minutes or an hour of quiet to do whatever we darn well please sure goes a long way with us. Especially as soon as you get home—not because we haven’t missed you, but because we want to connect with you feeling like ourselves again, not give you our frazzled leftovers.
Maybe it’s not even about getting a break, maybe it’s just the fact that you’re thinking of what we might need that’s so attractive.
It doesn’t take anything spectacular guys, just a nod of recognition that says “I get it so tag, I’m it”...even just for a few minutes. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s more attractive than anything you could buy.
And after doing this simple little gesture rest assured that ten minutes after you leave we’ll start counting the minutes 'til you both come back home.
1--As much as you want to believe you know better, mom will end up being right about most things. She has more life experience—listen to her.
2--As much as you want to believe you know everything, you don’t. Right now you think the older you get the more you know, but you’ll actually discover that the older you get, the more you have to learn. Stay humble.
3--Life doesn’t move progressively upward in a straight line ending at happiness—you’ll have periods of good times & periods of tough times; progress, then setbacks, then progress again; thinking you have it all figured out and then unlearning what you thought was right. Growth is a wavy, sometimes messy line.
4--You don’t know anything about parenting until and unless you’re a parent, so shush on the parenting advice. No, I don’t care what your child development textbook says, hush it.
5--You’re investing sooooo much time & energy into guys—how you look to them, what they think of you, how you’ll find one, how you’ll keep one, will he want to have children, yadda, yadda, yadda. Invest just a fraction of that time & energy into your own goals & dreams and your future self will thank you for it.
6--And, speaking of goals & dreams, that thing nagging at you—start taking steps toward it now while you have the time & energy. Your dreams won’t change as wildly as you think and you’ll wish you’d started sooner.
7--Save a dollar or two a day and don’t touch it. Start TODAY.
8--Trade the tanning bed for a great tinted moisturizer. Please!
9--Rather than caring so much about what everyone and their brother thinks of you, focus on those you respect & care about deeply and how THEY think of you. Let the rest of them go and just do you. You’ll find your people. Remember, quality over quantity.
10--While I wish you’d listen to all this you’ll have to figure it out for yourself because real learning comes not from advice but from experience. So just know, while there will be rough times, it all works out. Breathe. Relax. Pray. Listen to your gut. It all really will be okay. And you’re okay, just as you are.
After nearly 15 years in education, I tend to see things through the lens of how it impacts children or, I guess more accurately, I see things through their eyes--what they must be thinking and feeling. I see things through the lens of what we are modeling for them.
Five weeks ago when I heard the story of Ahmaud Arbery being gunned down while jogging, I felt sick to my stomach that a life was lost so senselessly. When I heard of the equally senseless murder of George Floyd only four weeks later and that, in his last desperate moments, he called out for his mama, I cried. As a mother myself it took my own breath away and made me physically sick to my stomach. I believe black lives absolutely do matter. And while I of course also believe that all human lives matter, the reason we choose the words “black lives matter” at this time is to put the focus and support on the black lives that, lately, seem to very clearly not matter to some--not all--who are white.
I looked at what happened to Mr. Arbery and Mr. Floyd and thought of our kids and what they must be thinking and feeling; about what we’re modeling.
And, while the anger and frustration over not being heard is understandable, I looked at the riots and looting going on and once again thought of our kids and what they must be thinking and feeling; about what we’re modeling.
I saw and heard some of the things being said about law enforcement and thought of our kids; about how confusing it must be to try and make sense as to whether police officers are there to help them or hurt them.
Yesterday I didn’t log on to social media until 7pm and saw the #blackouttuesday movement that was happening. I thought about what a powerful, united statement it seemed, but I also like to take a minute to research anything before I jump into posting, just to be sure that the message and intention behind it is something that aligns. As I researched, I saw that there were people within groups and pages I am a part of saying things like “if you don’t participate in this, you are making a statement that you don’t believe black lives matter” or that if we say anything at all on the topic as a white person, we are undermining the message. Once again, I thought of what we’re modeling for our children. We say we want to teach them not to make judgments and assumptions about people before getting to know them; to not incite peer pressure or bully others and to be inclusive, yet…some of our actions spoke differently.
Raising a boy is like a never ending tug-of-war between the pride of watching him grow into a young man and longing for him to be little once again.
Somewhere along the way, across all those blurry days, his fresh new baby smell was replaced with the scent of BOY—that wild concoction of sweat, dirt, and some third ingredient you can’t name but would recognize a thousand miles away.
Just as soon as you find yourself yearning to carry him close to your heart once again, you watch him run toward you with a wide grin, holding out a flower he’s picked just for you...and you can’t think of what else you could possibly wish for.
And the only words that make your heart burst as much as that very first “mama” is the wild “love you Mom!” shouted between monkey bar reaches from the playground.
rowdy and raucous
sweet, sensitive, soulful
perhaps the only thing more lovely than the memories of yesterday are the ones we’re making today. Those days, these days, & the ones in between have been the pleasure of my life.
There's alot about this whole Coronavirus situation I can't seem to wrap my mind around, but one of the things that's most hard to believe is that, next month, the new year, we all had so many hopes and dreams for will be halfway over. Isn't that insane? Time during social isolation seems to be flying by and moving at a snail's pace both at the same time.
Some mornings I wake up feeling positive and hopeful about it all. I feel we're adjusting to our new normal of virtual learning and social isolation and feel positive that we'll be able to move back toward our normal lives soon enough. Other mornings I wake up and just feel so sad. Not over the loss of busy--it actually feels pretty peaceful looking at our open calendar. I feel sad about so many other things, though. I hate hearing story after story about people coming down ill or passing away from this thing. I hate hearing about mystery children's illnesses and medical workers having to be separated from their own kids. But maybe what makes me saddest of all is that, during one of our darkest hours, we seem more divided than ever as a country.
I'm Krissy & I'm so thankful you're here. Being a woman, a wife, a mother--it's all rewarding but also tough. I hope this is a place you can go that feels like caffeine for the soul. Check out the categories below and, if you like what you read, subscribe to make sure you always have good Sunday morning reading to go with your coffee :)