Disney Resort Bus Trip #17, or thereabouts…
We lean into each other, our shoulders snapping together like puzzle pieces, with just enough pressure to give the other a moment’s rest. It would be a welcome relief to let our heads roll off our noodley necks as the bus lurches forward, but the three pairs of glassy eyes staring at us, dazed with fatigue yet flickering with expectation, would never accept our resignation.
He and I have barely made eye contact, or smiled affectionately, or spoken one word that wasn’t task related in four days. We are all business, all about the enterprise of the most commercialized vacation on earth. We sleep in fits and starts, pack and unpack, load and unload, deny our denial, and throw cash away like Kleenex. We are greedy with the energy required for pleasantries that feels wasted on each other. The torn edges of our patience burn like fine sandpaper. Our needs are like anchors that weigh us down. This is not about us.
It’s about them- three sets of sagging shoulders and raspberry-ringed lips, finally quieted by the thrum of the road, lulling their chins to their chests in unrequited defeat. They are finally funned-out.
It is here, in this moment of deep exhaustion, where our bones have been nearly ground to dust from walking, sprinting, lugging, jumping, and hauling our children and our gear through The 100 Acre Wood, that a subtle sigh passes from his rib cage into mine, and I can feel a joy too tender for words.
I know he’s smiling inside. I am too. It’s pure, self-serving satisfaction and a hefty dose of egomaniacal glee. It’s a hearty pat on the back from the person beside you who’s too tired to breathe between slow blinks, but can lift your spirit to the heavens with unspoken gratitude. It’s these children we adore, who have been carrying armloads of nervous energy and have been unsure where to set it down.
It’s this experience that we tried to justify with words like dream, and magic, and once-in-a-lifetime… but discovered that the words hidden beneath the socks in our suitcases were irony, and insight, and love.
A shudder from his lungs, a muscle spasm or dozing twitch, jarred my senses straight. I pressed against him knowingly, saw the lines relax at his brow, and smiled as I watched our tangled DNA bob their precious heads. It was a moment when I discovered that he and I, and us and them, are the glitter from the wand. We are the magic we came to feel. And we get to take it home.