Disney Magic is truly a one of a kind thing that is best experienced with loved ones, especially children, who can offer a fresh perspective on what it means to be young at heart all over again. A few weeks ago, Jim, Brian, and I experienced 5 days of that special magic in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom at Disney World . It was an adventure of mass proportions that had been months in the making. The preparation was similar to that of planning a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast: lots of details, organization, and time, were necessary prior to the actual event itself. Finally, The Big Day arrived when we traveled by plane (a first for Brian) to the Happiest Place On Earth!
There was an underlying concern for all of the potential things that could have gone wrong during our travel and stay in Florida. Brian likes his routines: new things are initially very off-putting to him and transitions can be quite challenging. I was most concerned about Brian’s first time traveling on an airplane, especially his ears on the descent. We never know exactly how our non-verbal children are feeling and Brian has a history of sinus and ear infections. As a former flight attendant, I saw many passengers suffer with incredible ear pain 10 minutes prior to landing and there was nothing that could be done. So, I packed Brian’s s chewy tubes, juice boxes, nose spray, and his beloved goldfish crackers exactly for this this purpose and hoped for the best. Fortunately, there were no ear issues on any of the flights! Brian absolutely loved the inflight experience, as a matter of fact, he was so mesmerized, that he had his little face practically plastered to the window for most of the flights, especially during takeoff and landing. Brian also did well overall with each of the new experiences during our time at Disney World. He was initially confused as we entered each new theme park, but not upset- this in itself was unprecedented! Brian quickly came to love the rides, shows, and especially the Disney characters- we did too! The complete 4D Sensory Experience that is trademark Disney was truly sensational no matter where we went. The visual and auditory experiences were incredible and the customer service was superb all around, two huge thumbs up!👍🏻👍🏻 One day, we hope to return and relive that special magic all over again- a very important “bucket list item” that we can now cross off our list.
Speaking of “bucket lists”, I have been reflecting on my own personal ” bucket list” ever since our adventure in Disney, with a renewed commitment to realize the additional items on that list. Life is truly too short. News headlines are often a stark reminder of how things can change in a heartbeat. The recent tragedy in upstate New York where the 20 people were killed instantly in the limo accident is just one reminder that tomorrow is not promised for anyone.
Before we became parents, we had more time, opportunity, and perhaps less responsibility to pursue those things that tapped into our talents and interests. Now, it is almost impossible to do because of numerous responsibilities, limitations of time, energy, finances, etc. Yet, we as special needs parents must somehow find a way to make this happen for our own personal fulfillment- life can also be very hard and long some days.. Periods of respite are an essential starting point; after all, parents need a physical and mental break. I am so grateful for those opportunities when Brian is in school or involved in extracurricular activities. It is good for him and good for me too. Yet, this is only the beginning and that is where a “bucket list” of things that fulfill the emotional/creative sides of ourselves is just as important as physical fulfillment.
My personal “bucket list” includes:
Exploring Italy, Spain, and Portugal
Visiting Alaska, Montana, Idaho, and the Pacific Northwest
Writing a book (either special needs or cancer survivor related)
Learning another language
Playing a new instrument- I play a basic guitar and an even more basic piano, but would like to learn more..
Participating in an acting/performing group ( currently doing that via a class at the Papermill Playhouse)
Reading a book each month that is NOT special needs related
Going back to Disney! 😊👍🏻
This list is evolving and is certainly not limited to the aforementioned. As you can see, the items on my list range from the very simple to the quite complex. Who knows what the future holds and when I will be able to actually accomplish all of these things, but I am determined to try! All work and no play makes Brenda very dull and sad, so it’s part of my personal mental health contract to make sure I pursue opportunities that will feed my mind, heart and soul. I will be a happier person and a better wife and Mom when I listen to my heart’s desires.
So, what does your “bucket list” look like? Perhaps some of the items include things like: going back to school, traveling to a new place, skydiving, owning your own business, or hiking the Appalachian Trail. It might be as simple as just going out to dinner and movie once a month or taking an art class. The items on your list don’t matter -your commitment to realizing your goals is what counts most. Carpe Diem!
Until we meet again, thanks for reading. 😊