It was absolutely NO surprise to Lou and I when Gavin was less than impressed with his surprise. We waited until we were at the airport to tell him where we were going and his reaction was, well, mediocre at best. He rolled his eyes and told us we were wrong, Disneyworld is not a magical place, because there’s not even any such thing as magic.
Well, okay then… Guess that video won’t be going viral! Kathie Lee and Hoda won’t be playing a cute clip of the excited little kid relishing in their generosity! Nope. We’ll save that for when he’s older so he can see how much he goaded his parents growing up.
The last time we were in Disneyworld, it was for Ty’s “Make a Wish” trip in December 2010. Gavin was 20 months old, Ty was just three, and Mely was very new to our family. Lou and I knew it might be a difficult trip, but the severity of the flashbacks, even all these years later, was something we just hadn’t anticipated. As always, we felt so incomplete without Ty and Mely there.
Flashbacks are funny like that. I might never have remembered eating vanilla ice cream with Ty in my lap right on a particular bench in Universal had I not walked right by it. I forgot how he held his camera and took pictures while we were on the train at Animal Kingdom until we boarded a similar ride in Disney – then I could remember every detail from that moment. The red sweatshirt he was wearing, his hood was up to keep his bald head warm, batman blankie was on his lap, he was sitting to my left as I had my arm around him to make sure he was comfortable and safe. I could hear his little voice in my ear again. See his little hands gripping his rubber camera. Feel the little bit of fuzzy hair and hint of dampness on my lips as I kissed his head. I can’t even hold back the tears writing about it, I must have looked crazy being the only person wiping away sad tears on and off all day at the happiest place on Earth.
I spent so much time thinking about what it would be like if they were both there, six and seven years old, running around together. Gavin absolutely LOVED the roller coasters! The faster, the better. Some of the simulation rides freaked him out a bit and the Jurassic Park log flume scared him to tears (which Lou and I teased him about endlessly until he did it again and loved it). He totally appreciated the humor during the Simpsons ride at Universal Studios, which made me so proud :)
I think Ty would be exactly the same as Gavin. Neither of them would have been impressed with the characters in the parks. Neither of them ever liked Disney movies or characters in particular… it’s all about the superheroes and of course, Max and Ruby for Ty. And after such a long winter, the hotel pool was also just as appealing to Gavin as a day in the park.
We were staying at a new boutique hotel in Orlando that did not have a lot of kids, so it made it even harder to watch Gavin in the pool, so excited if another kid showed up that he could play with. Lou and I wondered if Gavin was able to sense how mixed up we were between genuinely having tons of fun and being completely slammed with sadness at the same time. We don’t think he was aware, but maybe subconsciously he knew because he would say “Mommy? I love you. Daddy? I love you” 20 times a day. He showered us in hugs and kisses for 4 days straight. It was amazing.
We are driving home from the airport as I write this. It's early in the evening and I am just so physically and emotionally spent. I don't even know how I'm going to find a way to get back into routine tomorrow with work and school. Post-vacation hangovers are always like that, I guess, but this time it feels worse than ever. I just have so many emotions to digest and it's simply exhausting. Gavin is feeling it, too :)
I don’t want my memories of Ty to be so painful, but they always are. I can’t experience such detailed flashbacks without simultaneously feeling intense longing for him. I want to jump right back to that place and hold him and talk to him and kiss him and never, ever, ever let him go.
|ice cream break with Ty at Islands of Adventure|