I recently had a dream about my mom. We were at Disneyland and she said something like, “This is my favorite place,” or “I always love this place.” Something like that.
Really, there were two religions practiced in my family. There were Mormon leanings of course, from my mother, but the other religion even more fervently venerated was Disneyland.
My mother was a dynamo at Disney. The first time Liam experienced her there she blew him out of the water. He couldn’t keep up. Plus, she was on chemo. He was ready to hoof it back to the hotel for a nap and she was ready to take on the 45 min. wait for the Peter Pan ride. He developed a coping mechanism to keep up with her. Pickles. Throughout the park they sell big dill pickles, and he would eat one every couple of hours claiming that the salts and herbs were helping replace vital fluids — lost to him on the force march through Disney.
Here’s how the Petersons did Disney: Get to the park early, preferably before the gates open, and stay late. Stay past the fireworks. Leave so fried you do a sort of zombie shuffle out of the park, your cheeks smeared with tear stains; completely spent. If you’re there for more than one day, wake up and repeat the whole process.
My father swears I’ve dined in the Blue Bayou restaurant that looks over the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but for the life of me I can’t recall this. I’m sure this is because I was asleep face first in a Monte Cristo sandwich.
When Liam first witnessed this behavior, he thought we were mad. He kept looking at me longingly to put up a fight, to speak up for our right to take a break, take a moment, compose ourselves, something. But he didn’t understand the sanctity of the ritual. We were on hallowed ground. I had no more power to stop this than a moving locomotive. To suggest we leave the park for a nap was sacrilege. A sign of weakness; of a faulty moral compass. Onward we must go! So I’d slip him a couple of bucks to grab another pickle.
Here’s to my mom, especially today, and her amazing determination.XO