Disneyland with teens was a whole new experience. We have taken our kids on 2 other occasions. The first time Trina was 4, Ty was 2 and I was 5 months pregnant with Carter, still fighting mild morning sickness. That trip is a blur of nap times, fruit snacks, strollers, and trying really hard not to vomit. The second time we went was in ’08 with my family, for my parents 40th wedding anniversary. The kids were 10, 8, and 5 and Disney was magical through the eyes of our kids, and made even better with the presence of their best friends, their cousins. Trina and I waited in line for hours with Becky and her 2 girls to see the Princesses, and have our faces painted. Brady and the boys spent hours on Tom Sawyers Island, running, jumping, climbing, and getting their pictures taken with pirates. It was a wonderful trip full of memories we will treasure forever.
This trip was just as memorable and wonderful but for different reasons. It was just us, no grandparents, no cousin, and it was magical. I expected the kids to want to be left to their own devises and run a-muck on their own, but both times we suggested that we go our separate ways, they opted to stay with Brady and I.
We rode rides together, watched parades, learned to draw characters, talked with Crush, got really wet, laughed and joked, teased each other and made incredible memories we will never forget.
I am incredibly proud of Katrina. Trina has a fear of… well, she has several fears. The biggest of which… and where they all stem from… is the unknown. Trina is a planner. She wants to know what is going to happen, and needs to be able to visualize it in her mind before she does anything new. Along with this she doesn’t like roller coasters. We have narrowed this fear down to the fact she doesn’t like fast drops or turning upside down. This is no ordinary fear, but a real, TRUE fear with an accompanying physical reaction.
Let me illustrate:
During the previously mentioned ’08 trip to Disneyland we decided to take our little family on the Tower of Terror. Brady nor I, nor any of our extended family, had been on this ride before, as it was a new addition to California Adventure. We were told it was not a roller coster and more of a magic-motion ride… hmm someone lied! Anyway, we waited in line for the required hour, constantly coaxing and soothing Katrinas fear of what was going to happen. “It’ll be fine.” “You will have so much fun.” “It’s not going to be scary and if you get scared you can just close your eyes.”
If you have not been on this ride, fair warning “Spoiler Alert,” but maybe this will keep you from dragging your poor, trusting, terrified child into the most traumatic experience of her short life. We stepped into an elevator, took a seat and securely fastened the provided seatbelt. At this point I put my arm around Trina and said, “This is going to be so much fun.” She looked up at me with her huge blue eyes, brimming with tears and said, “Ok Mommy.” The elevator started to move up, the lights turned out (oh, did I mention she is also afraid of the dark?) and then after going up several (10? 15?) stories, suddenly the floor falls out from under us and the elevator drops to near ground level. Trina cried the whole way up, screamed for just a second on the way down, and then was silent. After the initial fall she started crying again as the elevator started its second ascent and continued to sob uncontrollably the rest of the ride as we were dropped from midair and then taken back up only to be dropped again.
Upon exiting the ride with my traumatized, pale, crying daughter, we stopped to admire our picture taken just as we are dropped from the highest point the first time. Sitting next to me, is poor 8 year old Katrina with her head tipped slightly sideways, her jaw hanging open and her eyes rolled back. She had passed out.
Yes, I am a HORRIBLE mother and I have carried this guilt with me for years.
Since this traumatic, life changing event, Katrina has refused to ride a roller coaster. She is perfectly content to sit and wait for the rest of us. 2 years ago we had season passes to 6 Flags. Not once in the year did Trina step onto a roller coaster. We did not expect this trip to be any different. The first ride we choose for Disneyland was The Matterhorn, a roller coaster. As we waited in line Katrina asked what this ride was like. I explained the basics. You sit in a bobsled, and sled through the mountain. I told her all about it, including the growling, red eyed Yetti. I assured her the drops where short and not straight down, and that she would never flip upside down. We explained that though there were dark portions they were short and soon it would open up and you could see light from outside. She asked a few more questions and then Brady and I were shocked when she said she would like to ride, and ride she did, without a single tear. She even laughed when she saw the Yetti.
Throughout our 3 days Katrina road almost every ride. The only 3 she skipped were Space Mountain, Califormia Screaming, and of course The Tower of Terror. After 3 days of Disneyland we headed for a day at Universal Studios where she continued to surprise us by riding every ride there. Katrina is amazing. I can’t even begin to explain the light she is in our lives.
Years ago when traveling with family we all decided to go on a Zipline. Our boys were so excited, as where our nieces. While we stood in line to buy our tickets, Trina watched people zip by over head and she leaned in and whispered, “I don’t want to go.” My answer was “Ok.” and we saved $60. 🙂 One of our family members chastised Brady asking why we didn’t force Katrina to go, stating she would never get over her fear if we didn’t make her do things she is afraid of. This week was a testament to allowing Katrina to be who she is. She has decided in her own time how to conquer her fears and is stronger for it. She learned for herself where her fears lie, and how to face them. I couldn’t be prouder.