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.