This tradition all started when I was a little girl. I was seven years old when my grandparents took me to Disneyland for the very first time. Decades later I still remember vividly the details of this magical experience. I felt so special and they loved me so very much. They were so sophisticated and classy. We stayed at the Disneyland hotel and we ordered room service everything was magic! Then of course we went on to Disneyland and enjoyed the park and then back to the hotel pool and then back to the park it was the best time I ever had. I cherished and loved every minute of this time with them. This memory will forever be in my heart.
So this tradition carried down to my younger brother and then down to the rest of family like my cousins. My Mother is the daughter of these mentioned Grandparents and she began planning several years ago for our oldest daughter, Clara who was going to be turning 6. Clara’s birthday is March 6th and my Mom thought it was only fitting to mark this tradition on her Golden birthday! This is how cool my Mom is I didn’t even know what a Golden birthday was until this point. Our daughter was born on the 6th day of March and your Golden birthday is a special birthday marked by the numerical day you were born. Right I know. If you didn’t know you just learned something new and you can pat yourself on the back. I know I did ha ha.
Unfortunately after so much planning on my Mom’s part she had to make the emotional decision to stay behind with her dying husband. Now there is a a lot to this situation even more to be said. My Step Father had been fighting for his life for quite some time and the week of this trip he took a turn for the worse. I was very torn by all of this. My Mom’s wish was for us to do this in her absence and so we pressed on as a family of four. Then Clara gets sick just two days before our trek out to California with a fever and a cough! She seemed to be on the mend the day we drove out to Disneyland and then literally not even kidding as soon as we stepped out of our van she was right back to a spiking fever and coughing. I couldn’t believe it..I didn’t know what to think or even what to do in that moment. All I kept thinking about was great now we are “those parents” with a sick kid in a
public wait major public place a.k.a. the Disneyland hotel! So I walked the girls around the lobby while my hubby checked us in. I was praying I didn’t get the death stare from a passer by or worse another parent!
Ok we’re checked in we are in our room and all is good we were now in our little safe box and what safer than the Disneyland hotel..I mean..The Bell man drops off all our bags and cooler and minutes later we hear rip, gush and all of a sudden water lots of water pouring all over the carpet from out of our cooler! I am always so proud of my Mom self for packing a mini kitchen to take anywhere we go and just like that all my efforts crushed like that cheesy, styrofoam cooler! You can imagine my distain when my husband said yea and it was $10! So it turned out fine we cleaned and the staff was like so on top of it literally like a team of Incredibles and we laughed it off.
So my Step Father possibly dying, my daughter falling more ill and now the cooler, ok I can see how the cooler does not belong or compare here, but you can see where this is going. We found ourselves torn again as what the next couple of days would bring. We even talked about going home. Another thing to mention is that part of this was paid for by my Mom and once you use your park tickets you only have so long to use before they expire. So we had all this to think about. I found myself in a place at the end of our first day feeling disappointed even angry at God. I started out that morning so good I prayed and read and even got a little bible study homework done on the drive. I honored my Mom’s wishes even though I wanted to cancel everything and stay with her. So I told God exactly how I felt and prayed for a miracle. I prayed for my Mom and I prayed for our daughter.
I know this tradition turned into something different and I never expected it to be exactly like mine. I just wanted this to be magical for her and something hopefully she would remember for a very long time. We have always called Clara our tiny and mighty girl. She fought with all her might with a terrible cough (mind you she battled mostly at night in bed). If she had been hacking all the way through Disneyland we would have cancelled our plans and drove home.
God is so good and I love that He is all the time. This story has a bitter sweet ending, the bitter being that my Mom’s intuition about staying home because she was preparing for the worse did happen. My Step Father sadly did breath his last breath the day before Clara’s birthday. The sweet is that despite this sad news and fighting off a cold Clara told us, “she had the best birthday ever”.