I spent the morning wandering through the World of Disney looking for a gift for my niece who is turning two this week (yup, I'm that aunt. The always late one...). Instead of a present for Clo, I found a time warp. I hugged all the stuffed toys from when I was young, the huge Eeeyore I finally got when I became a server, the Tigger Carrie brought on pirates of the Caribbean that almost got splashed. The Flit and Meeko I got when I was 4 and set up in my bed every night. I loved my stuffed animals. I used to read them Bernstein Bear books when I was little, yup, even showed them the pictures. I thought that if I was surrounded by them at night no bad guys could get me.
Francel and I were talking about childhood toys the other day. He said he used to try and sneak up and catch them playing while he was gone. The imaginations we have are so huge, so creative and so endless. When you're a child you can create any story, game or situation imaginable and play it out with your friends and toys.
My parents never crushed my imagination. They never told me anything wasn't possible or even that Santa didn't actually go down the chimney (we didn't have a chimney, clearly it magically changed into a big fireplace when he needed). They fostered, encouraged and let us create everything and anything. I'm so incredibly thankful, much more now that I'm older and understand. I was based in reality but enabled to fly and dream.
If it weren't for my parents parenting, I would never be where I am or following my dreams. I wouldn't have the morals, the values, the deep respect for family and love, the smarts, the courage or the drive that make me who I am. Yes they sometimes whispered to each other that their 16 year old daughter should maybe want to do something other than work at Disney World, but they encouraged me to try. They never let me quit things I started, and taught me the importance of commitments. I had to fight tooth and nail to quit karate, and punished them with a year of singing lessons to get myself out of piano class.
There are things that will always make me think of my parents. Going through the hats in the Disney Store it reminds me of my father and the mad hatter shop in Disneyland in Fantasyland. Every trip we each got a hat. I'm sure it was somewhat based on sun safety, but I just loved getting to chose one! I have a range from purple princess hat to Mickey through the years and an amazing lion king one! My sister has the most adorable flower hat and my other sister rocked the Donald Duck. Who knew a hat could transport you back in time? I wonder when my parents started these traditions, if they knew the impact they would have years later.
I can't see anything Buzz Lightyear related without thinking about my Mum. She LOVES him. I had the coolest buzz toy when I was younger, but I swear she loved it even more than I did. And the ride? Forget it. No one loves shooting things on that ride more than she does! Oh, and fireworks? All my Mum.
It even extends to my Grandparents - Alice in Wonderland reminds me of my Grandma because it was one of the only rides she would go on when we were little, and I can't go on Big Thunder Mountain without thinking of my Grandpa. The announcement says to 'hold on to your hats and glasses because this heres the wildest ride in the wilderness.' My Grandpa had both, and I remember him grabbing onto both and me just giggling my little heart away.
I went into the shop looking for something for my niece, but ended up transported through my own childhood. Through the stuffed animals, the toys, the hats, the games. I was lucky enough to have one of the most blessed childhoods, and now that we're at the age where we're (aka Kim) having kids of our own (and maybe some really far away day me) I hope that we are able to create the same memories and experiences for our kids/nieces & nephews. I hope they look back one day and see how everything their parents did was to give them every possibility imaginable. My sister has started off our generation strong in the motherhood department, and it's so exciting to see where it will lead our little CloGlow!
Personally I can't wait to infiltrate their lives with so much Disney they won't know there is any other option.... Wahaha.