Three years ago, on our second Disney trip (our first by ourselves, though), I taught the Girl that jumping from hotel bed to hotel bed is a perfectly acceptable form of entertainment. Sure, I should never encourage something like that. But I love the feeling of vaulting from one bed to the other. I just had to be careful not to slam my head on the ceiling (they were rather low).
Yesterday afternoon, the Girl and I pulled up into the Disney World resort area (we aren’t actually staying at a resort, though. Just a hotel…that’s what I can afford), unpacked the car, dropped our bags in our room. And while I was in the bathroom, the Girl promptly climbed up on one bed and started jumping.
To her dismay, the pillow topped mattresses, though, discourage springing from bed to bed.
And her height is a rather inhibitive towards jumping high enough to get good distance in order to really nail the landing.
Sorry, big girl.
We managed to get on the road early enough to beat any traffic that could possibly impede us. It wasn’t until we hit Interstate 4 in Florida that we actually encountered our first traffic jam. A poor woman drove her car into the jersey wall. From what I could tell, she survived…I could see her sitting in the front seat of her car (the door was opened), talking on her phone? Cradling her head? Talking to the police officers/fire fighters? I don’t know.
I generally do my best to avoid rubber necking but…my eyes flipped to the side and, in the second I had, I took in this image.
We arrived in the late afternoon, several hours before the sun was to set. And after we dropped our bags in our room, we promptly walked across the bridges that took us to Disney Springs, the shopping mall that was everything Disney and anything else that could possibly be related to Disney.
Street musicians. An amphitheater filled with children dancing. A carousel. A train. Colors. Lights. Incredible smells (I was really hungry).
I’m not one for shopping, but the urge to walk through every store, touch every ware, see and experience everything over-powered both my introveredness and my exhaustion. The Girl and I strolled down halfway before the crowds overpowered us and we pretty much were forced back to the section closest to our hotel.
We ate at the Earl of Sandwich. We bought treats at Goofy’s Candy Store. We talked non-stop about what we were going to see and do over the next couple of days. And for these beautiful hours, the Girl and I were on our own type of pillow top mattresses, jumping from side to side, shrieking with laughter.
As we walked across the bridge back to the hotel, I ran into a former student’s (Sarah W, topic of another blog) mom and younger sister. As I clumsily embraced each, the fatigue suddenly drained any remnant of energy I might have had and I could only feel the urge to fall over and let sleep pull me away.
I felt bad that I was rather abbreviated in our conversation, but I could barely focus, much less stay upright. So with another couple of clumsy hugs, we went our separate ways, and the Girl and I returned to our hotel room.
We watched Once Upon a Time, another Disney indulgence. We curled up in our separate beds, under warm blankets, surrounded by heavy pillows and, for the Girl, stuffed animals. And after an hour of television, we turned off the lights, turned on our sides, and fell into deep slumbers that lasted for eleven hours.
Eleven hours. Of dreams about love. Of dreams about mish-moshed images that fluttered against my eyelids and fell back into the whirlpool of my subconscious.
And this morning? The Girl and I woke slowly. We ate chocolate rice cakes with peanut butter and apples. I drank a lovely cup of coffee. And we watched silly television until my restlessness could not be appeased. And we went to Disney Springs and walked the full length before the world descended on the merchandise and the lure of memories in stuffed animal form. The Girl and I checked out menus and prices. We stared at trinkets through the windows.
We compared items we could buy there versus similar items in our home city. We thought about taking the special helium balloon ride up into the sky until we realized that the 40 dollar cost would only give us five minutes, most of which would be spent ascending and descending.
The stores opened and we walked through candy shops. Jewelry stores. Star Wars and Disney merchandise shops.
I bought the Girl a special set of jewelry, matching earrings and a ring. She bought the complementary necklace. She has a unique name that will never be found on the traditional American-name keychain. But I could at least buy her Mickey Mouse jewelry for her birth month. She could have something that was uniquely hers.
And the birthstones are green. Which will protect her on St. Patrick’s Day. Because she hates the color green which means she gets pinched mercilessly.
This is what vacation means for the Girl and me.
Jumping on beds. Shopping for girly-things. Fun meals. Indulging in childhood for a moment as she stands on the edge of her teenage years and I find gray hairs.
This morning, as I finger-combed my hair, I noticed a pair of brilliant white hairs. Midway down my head, right at the part of my hair.
I have found my first real gray hairs. Not blond. Not a lighter shade of brown.
Perfectly beautiful gray.
And I’m proud. Proud that I have earned these hairs. In two days, I will be forty-four. And I have found my first two gray hairs and I have no need to pluck them or pull them or change their color. I am in the middle of my life, and I am still happy to jump from bed to bed.
Only the lack of springs makes it really hard to get any distance.