We all have moments when we are faced with the trade-off of good parenting versus family convenience. I was recently reminded of this when a colleague of mine was dreading her upcoming family trip to Disneyworld. Despite her detailed plans for the most useful Fast-Pass packages and the closest Disney Property lodging, she knew it would not be easy for her husband and her 2 young, rambunctious sons. She told me about her scheme to increase her child’s ADHD medication and pack many bribery snacks in order to avoid major melt-downs while waiting for the rides.
Now, I know I am not alone in saying that Disney can sometimes be less than magical, and more of a necessary evil.
This brought me back to our recent trip to Disney, when my parents took my sisters’ and our families to Orlando for their 50th Anniversary two years ago. It was a wonderful trip, but as always, food presented a big challenge for us. It was even harder this time because it was during Passover. We packed plenty of gluten-free food, and tried our best to keep kosher for the 8-day holiday.
My sister Jodi and I knew that we couldn’t coordinate the entire day together in the Magic Kingdom, due to different ages of the 7 kids. But we planned to finish the day at ROLLING THUNDER, their favorite ride. We managed to meet up a bit later than planned because my 10 year old nephew went “missing“ for a terrifying 28 minutes after going to the bathroom in Adventureland. As we preparing for 6 of to go on the ride, a furious argument erupted between Leo and Ben, my two younger children. I don’t remember what caused the argument: we were all hot and exhausted. It may have had something to do with an ice-pop, but I could be mistaken, I am sure Leo’s blood sugar was high, since we had been detaching his insulin pump for the wet rides, and he was irritable. I just remember it was loud, embarrassing, and physical. I said “That’s it-you are NOT coming on this ride with us” He was fuming when I left him with my sister and baby niece.
We had planned to use our Diabetes Passes, which at that time worked like a fast pass that allowed one diabetic person to bring two other passengers with them. While this may seem unfair to others with chronic conditions who don’t get special treatment, our family viewed it as one of the only perks of having this disease. So we went to our line, showed photo passes, at which point the attendants asked where Leo was. Clearly, we couldn’t use the Diabetes pass without him, and Sam’s pass wasn’t enough to get all the cousins on the ride. OOPS. I sheepishly mumbled “Uhh. He’s over there….bad behavior” The attendants glanced at each other and said “We heard. Well, he needs to ride if you want to use the pass.” Adam and I looked at each other, knowing what was at stake. This was the fun roller coaster finale, and we didn’t want to ruin it for everyone. In a moment of weakness, we told Leo to join us. So much for setting limits and teachable moments…
Disneyworld is magical, fun, and friendly. It can also be frustrating and anxiety –producing. My best advice to my colleague: Have as much fun as possible, expect many stressful situations, and remember that even the worst moments, in time, will be funny as well.
I’ll let you know how that worked out for her…