Monday, April 5, 2010
Happiness fantasies for my child vs. happiness realities
I've been thinking a lot about our Disney trip, both because we had such a fantastic time but also because it's clear I keep sabotaging my emotions by building up too-high expectations about Max and how he'll enjoy himself. I wanted him to have that complete Disney experience since that's what I thought would make him happy. And I want to make this child deliriously happy, because deep down I feel he deserves it for all the challenges he's been handed in life. I also think it's his right to delight in Disney the way other, typical kids do.
These are the feelings I packed with me for our trip to Disney World.
I've written before about learning to appreciate the small stuff in life, inspired in no small part by Gretchen Rubin's blog and book of the same name, The Happiness Project. Generally, I do appreciate the small stuff. But when it comes to big events and big trips—let alone Disney World, the mother of all kiddie trips—my hopes and expectations soar, despite myself.
On Sunday, I was looking through vacation photos yet again. And I discovered something I hadn't seen before: all the little things that made Max (and Sabrina!) happy.
Like staring out at the sea
Coloring in the cabin
Getting a wagon ride from Dave
Dumping sand out of a bucket
Eating an ice-cream cone
Riding the monorail
A new purple bowl. A staffer at the hotel had been putting out bowls for an activity; Max grabbed this one and wouldn't let go, so she gave it to him. Max carried that purple bowl all over the place; he even got Goofy to pretend-eat out of one.
Enjoying the airport train
I realize, in the end, these seemingly minor moments of joy were just as blissful for Max as the major thrills I'd hoped he'd experience from the rides. It was a magical experience for him. Max's own kind of magic. A low-key, purple kind of magic.
Excuse me while I go adjust my reality meter once again.