This trip is personally special in it’s own way each year, because though we often do the same rides and go to the same events, the kids are so wildly different, it makes the experience new all over again. This is only my 3rd trip and it had such a different vibe for me than the first couple. I have always usually found myself drawn to the littlest of the kids. That makes sense since they are so cute and I can pick them up and swing them around and make them laugh with silly noises. It’s the siblings that I have had the hardest time identifying with since I grew up as an only child. I meet these kids who are sometimes teenagers and I have no idea how to interact with them. I’m old enough now to be their mom, but I want to be more of a friend.
The Wornkey family, who I met on Day 1 of the trip, have Harlee, who is the Kidd’s Kid has cerebral palsy. But, Harlee has this healthy twin sister Hannah. Hannah is hands down one of the coolest siblings I have ever met. She, like most of the siblings, seems to be twice as old as she actually is and has the kindest, most generous soul. Her mom referred to her as her second pair of hands. Hannah takes care of her sister like a mom would. She wipes her mouth, she fixes her hair, she baby talks her when she’s scared. How does an 11 year old have these attributes? Was she just born with the abilities of a caregiver? On the last day of the trip, after we went to see the Lion King, Hannah told me she most wanted to ride Everest. She hadn’t gotten the chance to ride Tower of Terror since her sister didn’t feel well and isn’t able to ride those scarier rides. So, I kidnapped Hannah and took her straight to the Everest roller coaster so she could actually do something she wanted to do. As much as this trip is directly for the Kidd’s Kids, the siblings and parents really deserve the trip as well. I can’t imagine, growing up and always coming second to my sibling. Let’s just not mince words about it, it would be a bummer. Mom and dad always spending money and time on the one that has poor health. They can’t make your school events because of doctor’s appointments. Now, I’m not saying that this is the case with all of the families, but it’s inevitable that one child will get a considerable amount of attention when they are sick and the others are “healthy”. So, I stole Hannah away for awhile so she could get to relax and ride a scary ride. Not really relaxing, but it’s what she wanted to do. We had a blast too! Of course she wasn’t scared in the slightest and I was scared as always, but it was so fun to just watch her let loose and enjoy herself.
That was kind of the theme of the trip for me this year. Watching others. I tend to spend my time watching the shows and seeing the sights WITH the children. This time, I was watching the kids watch what was going on around them. Sometimes things can’t be put into words, especially when you can’t talk. Sometimes all the words in the world are in the eyes. I guess I’d equate it to when you look at someone and you know without them saying anything at all, that they love you. The eyes communicate more than eloquent words ever could. I have never in my life seen the pure awe and wonder that I witnessed on this trip. Something as simple as meeting The Little Mermaid Ariel, to watching fake smoke come off the ground during the Lion King performance, it’s often the simplest details that amaze these kids.
I haven’t had the easiest time emotionally these last few months and normally I would take a moment like this and talk about how this kind of trip puts everything in perspective, or teaches me how fortunate I am really am, yada yada yada….but honestly, I don’t feel quite that way. I feel like being around some of these families and these children has just warmed my heart in a way that no one else ever could. The positivity and the sweetness is perhaps contagious and the cure I needed for whatever has been going on with me lately. Hopefully I can keep that fire burning in my heart for awhile;)