The past day has shown me one of life’s greatest lessons, in a tidy nutshell. Within 24 hours I flew long haul with a child, transiting through two of the world’s busiest airports and wrangling issues of botched bookings, language barriers, delays, long queues, surly staff, lost things, officious officials, sleeplessness and jet lag.
I’ve been people watching throughout and witnessed a wide range of mixed emotions to the setbacks and the wins, and had to manage my own temptation at times to laugh or cry.
Finally, we have arrived, late but at last, to Disneyland.
The happiest place on Earth, right?
It’s also the perfect catalyst for providing the ultimate lesson in parenting and in human behaviour – that attitude truly is everything.
The most famous theme park has all the elements for staging the greatest test of your resolve to enjoy every moment; it has momentous queues for extreme anticipation, intense excitement over meeting famous characters, lots of bright lights, noise and action for sensory overload, abundant sugary treats, and just about every tantrum causing scenario you can imagine for both kids and adults.
I saw implosions, spontaneous dancing, hugs, tears and stand-offs, all in the first hour!
It’s certainly the place to be if you want to see people’s buttons pushed.
I quickly realised, albeit the hard way, how attitude matters most.
My grumpy child finally lifted when I focused on the excitement. The waiter responded most to smiling customers. The security guard high-fived us for playing along with a gag.
We tiredly walked home singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, behind sniping parents carrying sobbing kids still taking bites of fairy floss.
As my little grumpster finally succumbed to sleep after 20 hours awake, he vowed to me that tomorrow he’d be ready to be happier all day, even in the long lines, because that’s the whole reason we are here, after all.
He gets it and that is what really matters.