Next to John, Riley and Allison, my Mom and Dad are among the most important people in my life.
I value their opinions, respect their ideas, and feel so extremely grateful to have them in my life. I have learned so much from both of them. The idea that I will be away from them for nine months is difficult, but I know I’m prepared for this trip because of what they have taught me.
One of the biggest things I’m going to adopt on this trip is my mom’s daily invitation for “magic and miracles” to appear, should they want to show up. I’m sure she has many more prayers she shoots up throughout the day, but I learned of this one when it impacted our family several years ago during a trip to Disneyland.
John, Riley, Allison and I, and my parents, went to Disneyland. Allison was about 4 years old and Riley was 9. Both kids were excited to be there, and Allison wore her princess gown every day. Our first day started innocently enough with a dance contest happening right inside the front gates, led by the Mad Hatter and the entire Alice in Wonderland cast.
Both kids joined in on the contest and performed moves I had never seen them do before. It was quite funny to watch them “do their thing.” The crowd liked it, too, because they took home 1st and 2ndplace. Later that morning, at a character breakfast, we ran into the Mad Hatter and the Alice in Wonderland cast again. They remembered Riley and Allison from that morning’s dance contest. In the course of the meal, the Mad Hatter brought a parade of other characters over to make a special introduction to Allison and Riley. Riley entertained them all by telling jokes and participating in their pranks. Allison won the hearts of everyone she met with her huge smile and princess ways. She communicated with gestures and sign language.
As the meal ended, the Mad Hatter and Alice in Wonderland invited the kids to meet up with them again at a specific time, at the Mad Hatter’s hat shop. We wondered what they had in mind, and if this was for real. Yes, it was for real. At the appointed time and place, the entire Alice in Wonderland cast, led by the Mad Hatter, appeared. They took Alli and Riley by the hand and onto the Teacup ride. Then they asked if they could take us somewhere else. “Of course!” They took us to the Storybook Train Ride. Alli, Alice and the Queen and I got in one car, the Mad Hatter, Riley, and John in another, with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum squeezing in, too. After the train ride, they walked us to a private area for hugs, pictures, and thank you’s. We skipped our way through Disneyland the rest of the day, feeling unbelievably blessed. To our surprise, the magic wasn’t over.
The next day, we headed over to California Adventure, on the hunt for Allison’s favorite princess, Sleeping Beauty. John got a tip from a cast member, ran to get in line, and excitedly called us. We ran to join him, and after a few minutes, much to our surprise, not only did Sleeping Beauty show up, but Snow White as well. When it was her turn, Allison bravely walked up to the princesses. What happened next brought us to tears. The princesses, realizing that Allison couldn’t speak clearly, sat down on the floor with her and used sign language and loving touches to her face and hair to communicate with her. She spent close to 20 minutes with the princesses as they talked and laughed together. They told her the secret to being a princess. It made a lasting impression on Allison – and on the entire family.
I don’t tell you this to brag about our amazing experience, although it was amazing, but to let you in on the secret that I learned on that trip. Inviting magic and miracles to join us is a pretty amazing prayer. I adopted the practice myself, and it has pleasantly surprised me many times.
So how does this apply to the trip we are about to take? Simple. I will invite magic and miracles to go with us on the trip. I don’t know everything that is to come in the next nine months, but I know that if I am open, I will experience incredible things and meet amazing people.
The other thing I will remember is that when we ask for magic and miracles, we must be willing to step into what is waiting to bless us. In the case of Disneyland, it began with Riley and Allison taking courageous action by joining in on the dance contest and then continuing to do so in all their interactions with the characters.
So the next time I want to sit it out because I am embarrassed about how I will look – or for whatever other reason – I am going to follow my kids’ example and courageously dance.
Thank you, Mom, for all that you have taught me, and for being such an incredible support to us, for bringing magic and miracles into our lives and for loving us all unconditionally. Thank you, Dad, for your guidance and wisdom, coaching and for always believing in us and cheering us on. You are both amazing examples to us, and I am so grateful and proud to have you as my parents.