Navigating Disney World Tip #1

I love Disney World and all things Disney. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to visit Disney World several times. As often as I’ve visited this dream destination, I always learn something new.

When we were at Epcot, one of the cast members shared with me a tidbit about getting on the Frozen ride (based on the Disney animated movie of the same name).

The wait for this ride can be as long as two hours. If you don’t have a fast pass, make this your first ride when the park opens. Since the World Showcase (where all the countries are located) doesn’t open til 11, there are no fast passes to slow down the line.

Even though the line looks long, it moves fairly quickly.

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Magical Memories

The first time my parents took me to Disneyland, I was 7 years old. As I vaulted out of the car, I looked up and saw the Disneyland sign. I starting jumping up and down. I did this for the next couple of minutes. I was so excited and happy. My dream had come true. To me this was definitely the happiest place on earth.

I have beautiful memories of the vacations we were able to spend at Disneyland, and later as an adult at Disney World. All three of my adult children share this love. With everything going on in the world, it’s nice to be able to enter a world that celebrates the hopes, dreams and optimism of our youth.

Tomorrow, my husband and I will venture to Disney World, however this time without the kids. I’m looking forward to creating new magical memories. Helpful tips if you are able to visit either Disneyland or Disney World, plan ahead and wear comfortable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking.

What About Me?

Being a parent has afforded me some of the greatest joys and experiences of my life. It has also made me realize, since my youngest is in college, that I’ve forgotten about me.

Before I had children, I had multiple interests, numerous friends and an adventurous spirit. Somewhere along the way, my life became intermeshed with their lives. Looking back, I realize it happened the day they were born.

As my children grew, old friendships and activities took a back seat to my children’s increasing social activities. The new friends I began cultivating were directly linked to these activities. These friends slowly drifted away as their kids followed different interests. Between shuttling my kids between school, dance, swim, martial arts, etc., I relegated my interests to a back shelf.

The revelation that I’ve forgotten about me is new and didn’t occur until a couple of days ago. I recognize that there are activities that interest me that are not linked to my children, but are completely mine, and that’s a good thing.

When I look at the picture below, it reminds me of the adventurous spirit that I have that needs to be rediscovered in maybe a different, but albeit fascinating manner.

 

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Monday Morning Lift

It’s Monday and I’m having a hard time getting motivated this morning. Often when I need a different perspective, I glance at pictures of previous travels.

These pictures were taken at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. The Balloon Fiesta is an annual event that is held every fall. For nine days in October, you can view hundreds of balloons as they are launched into the sky.

Besides the balloons, there are fireworks, booths selling everything from fair type food to jewelry, wind chimes, art, etc. When you’ve finished gawking at the balloons, you can ride the tram up to Sandia Peak, visit the zoo or tour the botanical gardens.

If you’re interested in going, make sure you book lodging reservations early. A year in advance is advised. If you decide to go this year, and don’t have lodging, you may be able to find something by the airport, or in one of the surrounding towns.

Letting Go

bumblebees

One of the most difficult challenges I’ve faced as a parent is that of “letting go.” Our youngest child is in college and my motherly instincts instill in me the desire to make decisions for him.

I was reminded of how I felt when my parents forced their unsolicited advice on me. Even if their advice was the path I followed, I hated and resented every moment of it.

Instead, I’ve forced myself to trust my kids decisions. Growing up, my parents were unselfish in lavishing their love on me. I also knew that they were always there for me, whether I needed advice, assistance or a shoulder to cry on. I am extremely grateful to them for this. As adults, my children will have to pave their own way in the world. If they want advice or assistance, like my parents, my husband and I will be there for them.

The greatest gift I can bestow upon them is to communicate our love to them and to trust their decisions.

 

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Chattanooga, TN is one of the places we visited on our road trip. My husband asked if I wanted to spend the night aboard an old train and I eagerly said, “Yes.”

There isn’t much to look at until you walk into the train station. The first picture shows the view that greets you as you walk in to register. The second picture depicts the actual train. The third photo is the room that we stayed in.

If you’re looking for a 5 star hotel then this place is probably not for you. I read some of the reviews before booking a room at this location. Several reviews mentioned that the lodging was dated and not up to modern-day hotel standards. I found it quaint and charming. There’s a large step leading up to the train and the bathroom floor was slanted, however, our room was clean and comfortable.

I would love to stay here again because I love trains.

The Anxiety of Perfection

Shortly after my second child was born, I realized that something must be wrong with me. My heart would start racing for no reason at all, my arms and legs would tingle, as if I had been laying on them, and I constantly questioned my memory. The more I obsessed about these symptoms, the worse they became. I finally saw a doctor.

The diagnosis I was fearing to hear, never materialized. The doctor compared my life to that of a star athlete who has trained to the point of exhaustion. It was at that point that I realized that in my pursuit to be the perfect wife/mother, I was setting goals that were causing me to become ill.

This condition didn’t magically appear overnight. My motto was “I’ve got it. I can do anything! I’m supermom.” This motto evolved from the culture surrounding me. As I observed the other mothers in my sphere of friends, I found myself secretly envying their lives. They had the perfect house and the perfect kids. I felt as if I spent every spare moment chasing a toddler and cleaning a house. I would fall into bed at midnight and wake at six in the morning. Other mothers had time to shop for themselves and pamper themselves with massages. I went six months without a hair appointment and it showed. In addition to be the perfect wife/mother, I was trying to run a business with my husband.

I was the queen of work schedules. In addition to a work schedule, I had a cleaning schedule, an after school activity schedule for my kids, even a play time schedule. We had 20 minutes we could spend at McDonald’s before we had to make out next stop. I would get so frustrated if my schedule was off by even a couple of minutes.

After my doctor lectured me about relaxing, I went back and started questioning my priorities. Becoming ill would not benefit myself or my family. I realized that the perfect mothers I were observing had assistance from others. A cleaning lady that came in twice a week ensured that their homes were clean. College kids were instrumental in driving their kids to after school activities. I eschewed baby sitters while other mothers were quick to take advantage of some extra “me” time. Family members in the area, my family lived in another state, picked up the slack.

I did not vanquish my anxiety attacks overnight. It took a couple of years for me to manage the attacks. The first thing I did was to rip up the majority of my schedules. I had to force myself to deviate from my set routine. I made a hair appointment and tried not to stress over the precious hour I was sacrificing. I went for walks and learned to appreciate the beauty of nature. Exercising in general allowed me a brief respite from my worrisome existence and helped me to break the cycle of anxiety. I stopped watching and obsessing over the news. Forget about reading enlightening books, I started reading for enjoyment. I still suffer occasionally from anxiety, however, I recognize the symptoms and quickly take steps to ensure that the condition does not escalate. The most important thing I learned is I don’t have to be perfect.

As I look around me, I notice dust on the dresser and that my rug needs to be vacuumed. It’s okay. I will get around to eventually. I’m happy and relaxed. Being perfect is exhausting.