A month or so ago, another adult and I got in an online argument about Disney character waffle irons.
Yes, we really did.
I am part of an amazing group on Facebook. The group is for parents of participants in the Disney College Program. There are over 1,000 of us.
I had shared the Google Doc Tenley and her roommates had developed to figure out who was bringing what for move-in. It was an attempt to make sure they ended up with the correct distribution of needed items, instead of six toasters and no TV (for example).
Apparently I am not always as hilarious as I think I am, because when I explained that the three waffle irons the girls planned to bring were necessary because (duh!) they were different characters, she responded back with “there is a space issue.” While it is true that space is at a premium, I had been kidding. Jesting. Making a joke, Being sardonic. She went on to DM me, asking me to untag her (because Facebook automatically tags people in responses now). Before I could breathe, I received a second “please untag me” message.
The whole exchange above got my blood pressure high and resulted in about a half hour of wasted negative energy I threw out into the universe that I will never get back.
A Dramatic Reminder
Tonight, though, I had a big, profoundly earth shattering reminder of what matters most (hint: it’s not waffle irons and quibbling over social media practices).
One of Tenley’s fellow College Program participants passed away today of natural causes. (Secondary issue: one of the buses used by the College Program was run into by an SUV driving the wrong way, causing both vehicles to be on fire and causing multiple injuries (but no fatalities, thank goodness).
I found out about the death right as Wishes began – the grandiosely optimistic, beautiful, heart-warming, and magical fireworks display at the Magic Kingdom, the one I had been determined to see this visit after missing it on previous visits for various reasons.
As I saw all of the participants in the Parents’ Group respond to the verification of the situation, with their sadness, their promises to pray, their shock, and their overwhelming dedication to a community of people who have come to care deeply for one another, I took a quick snap of the fireworks (it was a bad picture but ….) and sent it to Tenley, with “I love you.” I needed her to know, and right-that-very-moment.
One of the things the parents in the parents’ group do is take pictures of the kids in the program when they are at a Disney Park, and post them for the parents who are far away and can’t easily visit. I will admit I am a failed Mamarazzi. If I am with Tenley, I know she doesn’t want me to make a big deal out of a fellow College Program kid. When I am not with Tenley, I simply struggle with the extroverted energy it requires, and we’ve all learned over the past several months that we can’t just pull a kid out of the work assignment to take their picture — this is their work, not summer camp.
But one parent chimed in who knew I was at Main Street, told me the name of her son and what he looked like, and said she would love a picture.
Knowing one mom and dad out there just got the worst news they will ever get spurred me past the introversion, the inability to read nametags without my glasses on, and all the other objections.
One mom got a picture of her kid.
I don’t know any details about the young man who passed away except for his gender and which complex he lived in.
Update as of 5 pm on 5/15/16: Condolences to the family of William Gracia. There are more people praying for you than you could ever know. For anyone who wants to read more about Will, and how to help (his family has requested prayers and consideration of help with funeral expenses), click here for more information. ~ pk
But a higher power than us knows, and I am sure the family could use your prayers and good intentions as they walk their road of grief.
And the next time I feel inclined to spend some negative energy on something that is inconsequential long-term, I am going to remind myself to focus on what matters most.
Ironically, this incredible, upbeat, profoundly sentimental video was released today (pro-tip: for someone you know, fast forward to 15:07, 46:13, and 1:07:06). Thank you, Sharon Costello, for putting this together. Your love for our children (and us) shines through in every frame.
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.