Hello everyone. Eventually I’ll get back into the blogging routine. Again, many, many thanks for all your sweet and thoughtful comments, emails and tweets about my cousin Rachel’s death.
It was, obviously, an incredibly difficult weekend. There’s just this big piece that is suddenly missing from all our lives. I’m one of the “lucky” ones, in that, since I’m just about the only one who doesn’t live in Pennsylvania, the loss isn’t staring me in the face every day in my normal, day-to-day activities.
But that doesn’t make things any easier.
In the next several days, I am going to write a proper tribute to Rachel, including some of the things I’ve learned from her through this battle that I keep reminding myself of every day since we lost her.
But life has a funny way of marching on, particularly when you have a small child who needs you every step of the way.
I got back Saturday night, and after I was sure E was asleep, I just sank into my couch and let myself have a good old sobfest. I certainly didn’t hold back when I was in Pennsylvania, including one major sob-way-past-the-point-of-talking on my dad’s porch but even then, someone was always around. DadJovi was at his monthly poker game on Saturday night and I just needed to be alone with my grief.
When I finally couldn’t cry anymore, I decided to return to an old friend, one that Rachel and I shared a love of.
One of the things we joked about this weekend was how frequently Rachel would say, “You have to do it. I have cancer.” She used it for everything over the past five years, much to our amusement. So, book snobs, don’t judge me. My cousin died of cancer. I think she’d want me to use that excuse as needed.
On Sunday, I did something I had no desire in doing — I headed to Animal Kingdom. And it ended up being the best thing in the world for me.
One of my good friends from high school comes every year with her family, and every year, I’m not here when she comes. It’s uncanny how we’ve never been able to meet up there. She recently moved from Denver to San Francisco so I knew if I didn’t go, I’d be risking waiting at least another year to try and see her. Besides, via Facebook, we’ve determined that our two girls, who are only a few months apart, are kindred spirits. We’ve been dying to get them together.
And as we suspected, they were like two peas in a pod.
It was EXACTLY what I needed. We had a great time walking around together for a few hours, even though E. was a bit crankier than usual and definitely clingy with me since I’d been gone for a couple days.
They left in the early afternoon to enjoy their final day by the pool and I just couldn’t face going home and starting the “getting back to normal” process. So we stayed and had a blast. As we were heading out of the Jungle Trek, we noticed a new entertainment option — Bollywood dancers.
E. immediately ran up to dance along.
Obsessed doesn’t begin to describe how E. felt about this. For 35 minutes straight, that child did not stop dancing. There were two dancers who kept subbing in and out for each other, but E. stayed. Some times, some other kids would come and go, but E. never wavered.
Here she is in action. Pay attention in particular to the DJ in the background. She’s UH-mazing.
God, I love my daughter. She’s so fearless; I hope she never loses the joy for not only dancing but truly living the saying “dance like no one is watching.” Actually, she’d be more angry if no one was watching. For now at least, she loves an audience.
Finally, I tore her away. She would have stayed until the bitter end but I thought we needed to go get a spot for the parade.
I was wrong. Animal Kingdom was practically empty.
So, for the second time that day, we walked right onto the Kilimanjaro Safari. And at long last, we finally saw the new zebras.
We got off the safari about three minutes before the parade started, yet we were still able to get a front-row spot, right at the start of the parade route. I love you, off season.
And we both loved all the Christmas touches to the Jingle Jungle Parade.
Eventually, we decided to head home.
It was also time for E.’s hair to get back to normal. Bye-bye Bahamas braids.
Surprisingly, her hair wasn’t as crazy as I’d
hoped for feared. The one big plus is that the braids helped big time in our quest to grow out her bangs and get her hair to stay off her face.
It did take forever to remove the braids though, so we decided to introduce her to the genius of “Home Alone.” I forgot how funny that movie is. I was laughing hysterically throughout it. I could have just been punchy but I could not stop laughing.
Again, it was very good for the soul.
We had one more big item on this week’s to-do list — E wanted to write her letter to Santa. Since I’m the world’s worst mom and still hadn’t gotten her flu shot yet, we finally did it after work on Tuesday. Since she took it like a rock star, without barely even a flinch, we went to Crisper’s for dinner since DadJovi was working late. And over gelati, we started writing.
For those of you who can’t read 4-year-old, here’s what it says:
Please tell the elves to make a Jake toy and a Mary Poppins toy and her fox. Also the new Tink movie and Brave. Thank you.
I have it on good authority that the elves have already made at least three of those items. As for the 11th hour “Mary Poppins and her fox,” um, the elves are going to have to get busy and figure out if that’s even a possibility. Where did this come from?!?
After all, how could they resist this face?
Does anyone have Julie Andrews’ number?
What’s on your kids’ — or your — list for Santa this year? And be honest — I would be right to pull E. out of preschool and move to India to pursue a Bollywood career, right? That’s what I thought.