It had been a bad stretch, and Disney seemed like a good idea.
I knew I had crossed the line into crazy as Aerosmith’s “Love in the Elevator” blasted. It was the first ride of our first Disney day, and we were not off to a good start.
Rockin’ Roller Coaster wasn’t crowded so we rode it over and over. I had a death grip on my child every time. She gave variations of “Mom, chill,” but I couldn’t. I would tell myself I would do better, but the second that limo/speed machine took off, I grabbed on to my daughter for dear life. In my PTSD brain, it was my job to make sure she was safe.
Our next day at Animal Kingdom changed everything.
My daughter had been looking forward to the Mt. Everest ride. Even with me holding on to her, lest she go flying into The Alps, she loved it so much she wanted to ride it again. The regular line was long, but there was no one in the single-rider line. If you didn’t mind being split up, single rider was the way to go. Because I was in crazy-mama mode, I said, “We have to ride together because I have to hold on to you.” My sweet, patient child asked if I really thought I was the one keeping her from flying out? Part of me did.
I knew my thinking was flawed, and I knew what I had to do. We headed to the separate-rider line. My stomach was in knots as I watched her load in the cart ahead of me – alone. We both rode, both in our separate cars, and miracle of miracles, my daughter did not fly out.
We rode four times with no wait and were feeling queasy. We didn’t want to leave because we wanted to ride some more so we decided to go look at photos. The first photo was when my daughter was alone. She was having a blast. Next up was my photo. I looked miserable. We found the photo of very our first ride, the one of me clutching her with both arms, and I realized I looked like a crazy person.
That’s when the Yeti spoke to me: “You need to enjoy the ride, not fight the ride.” In that moment, the Yeti became my therapist, and he did a very good job.
We rode again and again. Sometimes together. Sometimes not. I did not hold on to anything. I let go. I did not fight the ride. I enjoyed the ride. I was cured. Thank you, Mr. Yeti.
For the last couple of years, our life had been just like that Mt. Everest ride. We had felt upside down and disoriented, but we were safe the whole time. We went around sharp turns where it seemed we might go off the rails, but we never did. After the drops and turns of real life, we always arrived back to a safe spot. On the roller coasters and in life, we pulled into the home base safe and sound every single time.
I think about that wise Yeti often. Don’t fight it. Embrace it. Wherever you are in life, whatever roller coaster you feel like you might be aboard. As much as possible, whenever you can, don’t fight the ride. Just enjoy it.