I just returned from a trip to Disney World with granddaughter Nora and my daughter. The non-profit, Dream Come True, granted Nora the trip. I was so delighted and grateful to be included.
The last time I was at Disney World, Epcot had not yet opened. Both Disney and I were quite different back then.
This time, Epcot was abloom with its “Flower and Garden Festival.” That discovery, as we arrived there, threw me an emotional gut punch. How Wade would have loved it. For him, every jubilant floral character, elaborate display, and botanical explanation (which most passersby likely dismissed) would have been magnetic. I could imagine pausing alongside each to listen to his reflections from knowledge and personal experience. . . more beautiful moments gone from my life.
Despite all the wonders of Disney, I was fascinated and continuously amused by the thousands of people who had sprouted mouse ears in a mesmerizing number of creative varieties. I realized that the mouse ears along with the multitude of message-emblazoned tee shirts, Disney and otherwise, probably offered a clue to some aspect of the wearer's character.
Then, there were the Disney characters in full costume. Throughout our visit, Nora met one-on-one with many of the notable Disney characters— Pluto, Goofy, Mini Mouse, and Mickey Mouse to name a few. My favorite was Olaf from the movie Frozen. If you haven’t seen it, Olaf is a snowman who loves warm hugs, and whose fervent desire is to experience Summer, having no inkling of what the heat would do to him. He and the other characters drew us in. Nora’s suspension of disbelief was supreme.
Disney is a place where we are encouraged to dress up and play. Outside the park in our daily lives, we employ some forms of costume, not so much to disguise, but rather to convey something about our individual character. Our costumes change throughout life, as we do. We upgrade them, outgrow them, improve them, and when necessary, trade them in for others.
These days, I seem to be at the point of trading in a costume as I explore new character roles to which I have been cast, but did not choose— the widow, the third-wheel, the tag along, the single-women homeowner, the grandma with no grandpa, and on and on. I desperately desire a costume that fits the way the old one did. I know one never will. I wonder, could Goofy live up to the costume if feeling goofy wasn’t in the heart of the person inside?
Of all the “characters” I saw at Disney, there is one that "grabbed" me by the throat. It was a young woman— no mouse ears or graphic tee shirt. She had three words tattooed along the base of her neck that read, “I am enough.”
Where do I find the character to fit that costume.
My book, Good Grief - What you think you feel, is planned for Fall of 2019.