All Ears

Maggie surprised me the first night at Disney. She asked Kim to buy her a pair of Mickey Mouse ears that lit up. I’m sure if she’d asked me I would have said no. You’d think I would know better by now. I would have been wrong.

Kim figured that Maggie would want something like that and as long as she was at Disney she would wear it but once we got home she wouldn’t. So, she reasoned, why not get it on the first night so that Maggie got maximum use out of it. I would have said no on the first day and no on the last day. Sometimes I just don’t get it.

Maggie loved the ears. She wore them all the time. Usually she gets something like that and a few minutes later she announces that they hurt her head or something and never wears them again. Not this time. She wore them on and off the entire week. She would put them in the bag when she rode some rides and ask for them back when we walked around. She loved the ears.

Maggie was child-like in a way that warmed Kim and my hearts. She wasn’t standing outside of herself and observing the experience. She was embracing it and living it – ears and all.

Elena, we figured, would have wanted one of the princess hats with the frilly stuff cascading down from the point. Elena would have wanted a Figment pin. Maggie thought about it and then said “that’s ok”. She asked for surprisingly little during our week there.

At MGM, Kim and Maggie headed for the ladies room and I headed for the mens room. Maggie turned towards me and I saw that her ears were on. The ears were mirrored surfaces with little lights that lit up in a pattern.

As I entered the mens room I heard a toilet in the ladies room flush. A little girl screamed from a stall in the mens room.

Her dad said, “that was next door. That wasn’t this toilet.”

“I don’t like the automatic flush, daddy,” the little girl said.

I smiled. Just like Elena. I remembered many times when Elena would jump off the seat when she thought it was about to flush. I remember standing next to her half turned away with her holding onto my sleeve while she went to the bathroom.

“Daddy,” the little girl said.

I tried not to listen but I couldn’t help myself.

“What?” her dad asked.

“How come you don’t have a vagina?” she asked.

I smiled even more widely. What great memories of the same type of conversation with my girls. To me it was like having a part of Elena back with me.

The dad was a bit self-conscious. He knew someone else was in the bathroom with them. He didn’t answer her right away.

“How come, daddy?” she prompted.

The dad said, “let’s not talk about this right now. We’ll talk about it later.”

“OK, daddy,” the little girl said.

I washed my hands and thanked them for bringing back memories.

My day was brighter. My ears lit up too – just not in a pattern like Maggie’s.

Published in: on February 24, 2007 at 9:23 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am sat here laughing and smiling , I have always been close to my oldest daughter and when she was 18 and after having had the same boyfriend for 2 years promptly asked me what I thought about her wanting to lose her virginity to her boyfriend , To this day I am not quite sure what I said except that to always remember that it was her body and she must take some time to think it through as it was a big decision

  2. I think Jim Henson handled that sort of question in The Dark Crystal.

    Jen: Hey, I don’t have wings!
    Kira: Of course not. You’re a boy.

  3. I think of you and your journey from time to time and am always grateful that you are continuing to lean into your gift and write some of it down for us.

    And yes, we will be here, to accidentally remind you in a good way, and to catch you when you need catching.

    Even we total strangers.

  4. Thank you. A total stranger that has entered my life and made me more greatful for what I have. I find it poetic that we were at DisneyWorld celebrating our family with another family the same time you and your Shen-family were celebrating. I thought of your family often while I was there. I’m not sure what drew me to those thoughts, but you were there. Particularly, as we dined in Cinderella’s castle amid the fireworks outside the castle. It just seemed like something your family would really enjoy. Perhaps you were even there. Thank you for sharing your life, your sorrow, your joys and your love with us…the faceless many who check in on your family regularly. I thought of Elena often last month and again this weekend. Strange..a girl I never met and she’s had this big of an impact on my life. Thank you.


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