On seeking redemption

Our first encounter with Disney World was a disaster.

It was a year ago. Devin’s birthday. He was turning eight in a new place, and I was swirling in the darkest depths of my depression.

Instead of enjoying A Very Mickey Christmas, we were snapping at one another and trying to figure out why in the hell mom was crying. At Disney World. I was bitter and angry and easily overwhelmed with decisions like which ride should we go on next? Someone spilled hot chocolate on me and I lost my shit.

Seriously. Lost. My shit.

‘Twas not good, my friends. Not good at all.

Although I hadn’t realized how not good it was until a few weeks ago.

We were once again planning Devin’s birthday. I asked him if he wanted presents or to go do something – and what he might want to do. He considered going to Universal Studios (where we have free passes) before announcing he wanted to head back to Disney World.

And then he stopped, lowered his eyelashes and his voice, and clarified his decision.

“Not the night one though. That, um, I don’t want to do that.”

“Really? Why not?”

“It.. um… I just… it wasn’t fun.”

A casual observer wouldn’t have noticed. They may have dismissed this as the explanations of a fickle child who has merely added something new to their list of “things I’ve decided I hate. Just because.” But I was not a casual observer and this is not just another fickle child.

This is my son, whose voice I know, whose heart is mine. And in the way he ducked his head and avoided my gaze, in the quick glimpse of a memory I still caught running across his face, I got it. I realized that my depression had not just tormented me, but those closest to me as well.

My son. My babies.

Burned in his memory as much as in my own was a night of angst and confusion and bitterness. A night of standing in the Happiest Place On Earth surrounded by laughter and awe, and being trapped inside your own bubble of anger.

We’re going back to Disney World this weekend.

We are not, in fact, doing that night thing. We are, instead, spending two days with park hopper passes (thank you Carolina!!) and an on site hotel. We are taking our time, breathing, and enjoying one another.

We are thanking the little baby Jesus in a manger for anti-depressants.

And we are, God willing, finding redemption.

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  1. It is heartbreaking to see a reflection of our broken-ness in our children’s eyes – this I know all too well. But I also know with recognition, and love, comes sweet redemption.

    Have a wonderful time – make a million new memories.

  2. Hilly says:

    I think it’s so amazing though that you took all of the ickiness in all of this and rather than truly sit and dwell on it forever, you planned a new trip. A trip to make it better this time. A chance to see him beam and smile the next time he talks about Disney World and his birthday.

    Love you :)

  3. Eva says:

    You raised a good son. Insightful, sensitive, thoughtful, TACTFUL. Rare traits in children, even more rare in males (in my experience).

    PS I thank God for anti-depressants, too.

  4. Good luck! Here’s hoping for a happier trip this time! But seriously, have you not read The Blogess’ post about DW? All I have to say is bring your own tampons, because it could seriously get scary.

  5. Ren says:

    Have a great time!

  6. Faiqa says:

    ::heartbeat:: This was a good one. One of my favorites.

  7. When my kids were about 8 and 11, I was asleep on the sofa about 18 hours a day.
    My kids are now 20 and 23. If you ask them about that time, they will just say “It was kind of scary”.

    I also thank the Gods of Pharmacy for good meds.

  8. Hooray for second chances. You’ll have a great time and the first time will all but fade from his mind. It will become just a blip in a long history of great stuff between you. Good for you for getting your shit together with yourself and your husband. Your kids will thank you for it for the rest of their lives. Not only with words, but with the way they conduct their own lives. Redemption is a real thing and my prayers are with you for a great trip.

  9. Dave2 says:

    Go early. FastPass is your friend. Have fun. :-)

  10. oh britt, i am so thankful that you pulled out of that terrible darkness. and i am thrilled that devin’s birthday will be so very different this year.

    please hug that little boy tight for me at least once, k?

  11. Dawn says:

    I’m not sure how to make you feel better about how your issue affects or affected your kids but, just so you know, as they (we) get older, our perspectives change. My own mother did something that was beyond terrible when I was four years old and though it makes me sad, it makes me sad more for her than for me.

    I’m not sure this is making sense. I must’ve got the cryptic bug from you. But without going into details here (it would take pages and pages of text to explain), just know that your kid is fine. That incident will not scar him. He may remember it always, but it won’t scar him. Trust me.

  12. NYCWD says:

    I know what Devin means. I have been severely adverse to lemonade at any theme park since my experience at the ripe old age of 5. Small World or not, its no fun.

    Have a blast this weekend, k?

  13. Peggy says:

    My mom had issues when we were kids. And it was scary and weird. But, we all emerged on the light side. Maturity does that. On another note, my daughter is an intern at the Dis. If you’re on the TestTrack ride at Epcot look for a gorgeous brunette named Emily and give her a hug for me! Well..not really give her a hug, that would be a little creepy from a stranger, I guess…just tell her I send her hugs.

  14. SciFi Dad says:

    Have fun this weekend. Enjoy your kids, enjoy their faces, enjoy their enjoyment.

    Meanwhile, I’ll try not to slip on any ice as I’m shoveling snow.

  15. Avitable says:

    This trip definitely has a different feeling in the air around it than last year’s.

  16. William says:

    Redemption will be there. It will be fun.

  17. Sandi says:

    I second the thank you for the anti-depressants. Whew..what a life changer for me, too.
    Hope you have a great time!

  18. Kristin says:

    OH Babe! Have a good time!
    And tell that child to stop getting older!
    I didn’t send his card in time for him to get it in time…….
    please give him hugs and love from me!

  19. Kristin says:

    …………oh and tell him Happy Birthday

  20. Finn says:

    That realization is terrible, isn’t it? And no matter how many times you tell yourself you couldn’t help it, you still feel crappy.

    But… tomorrow is another day. And Devin will learn that Disney really IS the happiest place on earth. And then you’ll do the night thing again some day. And it will be fine.


  21. And, now I’m crying. I’ve been in that situation plenty of times as well. Like the time my son told me “I promise I won’t spill my juice ever again.” Because a few weeks before I’d been in my crazy-place and went ballistic on him for spilling a fucking glass of juice. Thank God that children forgive us more readily than we are ever willing to forgive ourselves.

    Good thing BossMan won’t be in for another twenty minutes.

  22. Hallie says:

    How awesome. It’s never to late to replace a bad memory with a freakin awesome one.

    You are a good mom.


  23. Bobbird3131 says:

    Have a Wonderful Time! Bless our kids who love us in bright times and in dark.

  24. twinkie says:

    I think it’s freaken ADORABLE that he didn’t flat out say, “Because at night you go crazy, mommy” as my kids would very bluntly say… LOL they are like their mom in the sense that they have no tact and hold nothing back. Even when they should. Those lil turds. ;)

  25. Your honesty and passion and humor and love of motherhood will be the memories of childhood for your children… all else is just stuff.

  26. steen says:

    I love Disney. I hope y’all have a blast!

  27. I hope you all have a great time. We travelled over just this October and it was bloody brilliant.

  28. Jen says:

    I think we may have been at the same Christmas party last year. It was so crowded and we did NOT have a merry time AT ALL!!

    I hope you have a better time this year!

  29. Three cheers for repaving the path, baby. Have a great time.

  30. Rachael says:

    The moment when you realize on a certain occassion how much your own state of mind affected your child is heartbreaking. I have tears in my eyes reading this and remembering earlier this year – mine is too young to remember, but once I came out of my depression I couldn’t believe how much my state of mind had been affecting him. I hope you have a ton of fun this year.

  31. Dear Baby Jeebus,

    Thank you for all of the anti-depressants available for myself and my blog friends like Miss Britt.

    Love & kisses,
    This Heathen Woman

  32. I find myself thinking of just these sorts of scenarios when I lose my cool with my kids – will they grow up thinking Momma had a short fuse? Couldn’t handle her own kids? Couldn’t handle *herself*? Somehow its not enough to make me change my tactics…*le sigh*.

  33. Robin says:

    See…this is why you’re the shit. You take old gnarly-ass lemons and make Bacardi Limon out of situations in your life…more people should live their lives like you try to every day. Shit – I know I do.

    Post pics!

  34. Courtney says:

    I’ve been through a few really bad bouts with depression so I know… I can only imagine how horrible it is with children. Good for you for going back there to show him how good it really is. Thank heavens for anti-depressants!

  35. Summer says:

    I myself also realized how bad my depression was when I saw how it was affecting my kids. I did not want their memories of me to be of a screaming lunatic. I’m so happy that you’ve gotten help and I wish you much fun and happiness on your son’s birthday getaway.

  36. DeannaBanana says:

    I <3 you and that kid, well, the whole family, but you know that. I hope you guys have an absolutely awesome weekend. Looking forward to Monday Britt, talk to you then.

  37. Ah, Britt

    You DO get do-overs with your kids. You get to lay this wonderful memory over the one that hurts. It doesn’t hide it, but they will look at that bad Disney trip THROUGH the eyes that have seen the experience all shiny and new.

    I hope you’re having a great time there, loving Devin and making his birthday awesome.


  38. Sybil Law says:

    Awww. Happy Birthday, Devin!
    I hope you guys are having a fantastic time, right now.

  39. That’s the beauty of life, we get a new shot every day.

  40. B says:

    I’m sure you and your family will be able to replace those bad memories with brand spanking new awesome memories! Have fun.

  41. Kori says:

    I relate to this-life before Lexapro totally bit, for ALL of us. And I got tears in my eyes reading at the changes in a year!

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