Tomorrow, my daughter and I will load up into my car and start driving, following the not-so-yellow-brick-road towards Florida. Towards Disney World. My husband and son will stay behind as the Girl and I pursue Disney magic one more time.
She is almost twelve. This will be our third trip down south as we seek the Magic Kingdom and all the dreams and promises that lurk within the facades and paper machete dream walls that are there. The first time, she was in pre-school, possibly kindergarten. The second time, elementary school.
Now, she is in middle school and though princesses aren’t her thing as much as they used to be, she still dreams in pixilated colors picked out with glittery sparkles. She is still very much a girl who wants to be a princess, eve if this is one who will never inherit a crown or a throne.
That’s okay. I can’t imagine that any Prince Charming could handle my daughter. She is too strong, too certain of who she is for any Prince charming to be able to handle. She is too aware of who she is is, too aware that she is more than any simple damsel in distress. She will never need to climb a million mattresses and not be able to sleep because of a pea in order to prove that she is weak and fragile. My daughter will never be weak and fragile.
She will never be dainty.
She will never be a petite willowy young lady. My daughter will always be a strong young woman who is absolutely certain of who she is and who she wants to be.
Right now, she is dreaming of becoming an English teacher. Not because her grandmother or mother are English teachers. But because her sixth grade English teacher is amazing. When the Girl and I walk, she tells me about her future classroom. Talks about the books she will have and the reading nooks that will be lurking in the different corners of her room.
She dreams about her future students, about the essays she will have her students write, the stories she will craft with them.
She dreams. Lord, she dreams about her world and how she will work and live within it. Tomorrow, she will dream about all the different people she will meet, the characters and they will sign her autograph book. Tomorrow, she will curl up in the back seat of my car and will watch movies as we traverse the American countryside and eventually deal with traffic in Orlando. Tomorrow, she will dream in pastel colors and will live within the exclusive joy that only Disney World can present.
The Girl is on the cusp of being twelve. And in that edge of her life, she is so close to becoming a teenager, of growing up and away from me, and I wonder if this trip will be…I don’t even know. If this will be another bit of the cement and mortar that will keep us together? If this will be a memory that we grab and hold on to as we enter the years in which we will fight over… silly differences, petty misunderstandings, opinions that don’t mesh and rub against one another to the point of making the skin raw.
Tomorrow, we will drive hours upon hours. We will touch upon past memories and laugh and giggle. Tomorrow, the Girl will sit in the back seat and watch a Hunger Games movie marathon. And I will sit in the driver’s seat and will stare at the cars in front of me and count the miles and the hours until we reach our destination and we can enter into the dream landscape that is only feasible within Disney World.
It is a tantalizing feast. One that boasts of escaping reality. One that enables us to create a different reality.
And I can not wait to see her face when, as we ride the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, she sees Mickey for the first time that day and she transforms from a future young woman to a little girl filled with giggles and delight.