Many of you probably remember my dilemma over whether or not I should give myself permission to run headlong into my second childhood and get bippity-boppetied. Everyone who knows me was kind of dumbfounded that I would even hesitate over this opportunity. It was a bit surprising, even to me.
The night before my date with the pixie duster, I got a text from a friend asking if I was excited. I responded that I was, but, to be honest, I wasn’t sure exactly how I felt. I was happy and looking forward to it, but I don’t know that I could really say I was excited or enthusiastic or anything like that. In fact, I had a kind of flat feeling about the whole thing. There was something blocking me from completely letting go and getting giddy.
It took me awhile to realize what it was. My mom should have been there with me.
My parents called me Tinker Bell from the time I was born. My mother called me by that pet name my whole life. It was a special thing between us. We enjoyed a lot of great experiences together. Many of the adventures we had after moving to Florida involved trips to Disney. I pushed her around Epcot on a regular basis. She especially enjoyed the flower and garden festival. One of my all-time favorite memories of her was when I took her to see the Osborne Christmas light show at Disney Hollywood Studios. We were so happy that night. We visited Tinker Bell together in the Magic Kingdom and I have the photo to prove it.
It just seemed to me that, if I was going to go get tinkified, it didn’t make any sense that my mom wouldn’t get to share the experience. I realized that my hesitation about the experience had never been about spending the money or looking silly. It was really all about not quite knowing how to revel in this specific experience without my mother.
After I had this epiphany, I consciously decided my mother would have loved that I was being tinkified and she would want me to enjoy it for both of us. I decided to throw myself into the experience, whatever it ended up being. I would feel whatever feelings came up and I would just let the day unfold however it was going to unfold. I wasn’t going to try to form any expectations or manage the process. I was just going to live it. I was going to be excited.
I did make a couple of preparations. For one thing, I had two very dear friends accompanying me. I called them my “pixie posse.” They volunteered to come along and observe while I was still deliberating about whether or not to do it, long before I realized why I was so hesitant. They wanted to come with me to enjoy the day and to support me. I’m sure they were thinking it would be a fun outing for all of us. On the day of the tinkifying, I leaned into their love instead of wallowing over the loved one that was missing. I also wore my “mom” ring. Right after my mom died, I bought a silver and diamond ring sculpted into a heart formed by two angel wings. I wear it when I am going somewhere or doing something that I think my mother would especially enjoy or when I really, really want to feel her close to me. I knew my tinkifying trip was going to be just such an experience. I was documenting this whole experience on Facebook, so I posted a picture of the ring with an explanation of its meaning.
The day turned out to be wonderful. I did feel waves of momma sadness often during the day, but I’ve learned that sadness and pain don’t have to be the same thing. These waves didn’t hurt. I just surfed them when they crested and rode them to the shore. Then, I paddled myself back out into the happiness. For the most part, I spent the day feeling joyful, playful, free, giddy, and excited. I was Tinker Bell. I was rocking the Pixie Hollow world. When I saw the pictures, I felt pretty for the first time in my life. Not just pretty for me, but pretty… full stop. Momma would have loved it. It occurred to me that this is the way my mother saw me every time she looked at me.
When my brother read my Facebook post about the “mom” ring, he replied that I should keep the ring on always because my mother loved doing stuff with me. He also reminded me that Momma is with me all the time, in everything I do. I believe he is right. She was with me at the pixie dusting and she is with me in Always Always Land.
What have you done to make sense of living when a person you love has died? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a thoughtful day!
P.S. I’m sending an extra special portion of love to those of you who might be having a difficult time facing the holidays with loss weighing on your heart. It is hard, I know. As a friend of mine tells me, it is important to learn how to be happy and sad at the same time. I wish and pray for your happiness to find a place in your heart.