All it Takes is Courage (and a little pixie dust)
Walt Disney World’s tagline these days is “Let the memories begin!” I chuckle at this thought now. For me, the tagline became “Let the panic begin!” I mean, seriously — what is in that pixie dust? Who quits their job when they get home from Disney World? Me, that’s who.
It all started as a fairly ordinary family trip. We pack everything but the kitchen sink into the minivan and ensure we have enough snacks to feed a small country. We load up two kids under age six in the car, pray for patience and off to the wonderful world of Disney we go.
As a self-proclaimed workaholic, I diligently respond to e-mails, requests and calls on my ever-present Blackberry throughout the trip. My children even have a nickname for it: Sam. Somewhere between Ocala and Orlando, “Sam” dies. I toss him in my purse, mentally making a note to find the cord and charge him when we get to the hotel, lest my employer go under due to my week-long absence.
Somewhere between us unloading what feels like (and I am sure the bell hops would agree) our entire house and being welcomed to the Magic Kingdom via song and dance, Mickey and the gang on a magnificent steam engine and fireworks, the real world is totally forgotten….and I mean totally. Blackberry? What Blackberry? Have you tasted the Dole Whip there, people? I am convinced it has magical qualities.
It’s not until we enjoy our last evening at the Magic Kingdom, that I truly feel something is afoot. I am holding my 2-year-old son, listening to the music and the words of the nighttime entertainment, “Wishes.” Then I hear it. I hear the voice of what I can only presume is my fairy godmother: “We must always believe in our wishes, for they are the magic in the world. Now let’s all put our hearts together and make a wish come true.”
Then enters the chorus of children singing, “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, let’s make a wish, a wish tonight….” They sound like angels. Fireworks are going off in the background. My son and daughter are looking on with pure excitement; and as for me, the tears spill over onto my cheeks.
“Any wish is possible,” says Jiminy Cricket. “All it takes is a little courage. Let your conscience be your guide.”
Who would have expected that an innocent family vacation to Disney of all places would have me jumping ship on a 12 year career? I certainly did not.
Sure, I felt “Mommy guilt” from time to time. I was stressed to the max balancing my family and home life alongside my husband’s demanding career. Work was starting to get out of control and a re-organization was looming; but quit to stay at home? Those thoughts were reserved for the really bad days. I would laugh in the next moment as I saw visions of me changing diapers all day, cleaning up spilled milk or creating minute by minute activity schedules. At least in the office I got paid to run after adults all day who act like kids.
So why now, in this moment at Disney, did I realize my wish was to be a stay at home mom?
In that moment I realized tomorrow would come. The magic of Disney would fade with every mile we drove toward home. My kids would grow up, no matter how hard I try to stop it. They do not care about my accomplishments at work. They just want to be kids, whether at Disney or at home. So, with a lot of courage, and my conscience as my guide, I took a leap of faith. There have been moments of panic, but for me the memories are truly just beginning.