Once a year Disney on Ice rolls into town and causes a flurry of excitement amongst little girls who all rush to don their favourite princess costume and bankrupt their parents who battle to resist the power of the wide-eyed-pleading-eyes look that little children learn in-utero, and are especially effective at equipping themselves with when anything ‘Disney’ is mentioned.
Despite being absolutely intrigued by this ice-skating bonanza and hearing consistently good reviews from those who have experienced the show, we have never gone ourselves. Because she was a bit older when they started bringing it to Durban, The Schmoo has never really been that interested in going, and up until now we have felt that the experience would be lost on our two little ones, choosing to patiently wait a year or two until they were old enough to really absorb and appreciate this particular treat. So this year when it was announced that the magic of Disney would once again be gracing our town it was a no-brainer – a special outing for Lulu-Pie and mom was on the cards!
At the age of four and a half, Lulu Pie is absolutely Elsa obsessed! Elsa tops, Elsa dresses, Elsa bedding, Elsa tea sets, Elsa everything! She has even been known to call out to Queen Elsa in her sleep! The kid’s got it bad. You name it, she loves it, and has stealthily used those big ga-ga eyed looks to ever so sweetly wangle them out of the shops and into her home. (Let’s hope she uses these skills in the world of business one day and wangles her mama a yacht in the Carribean). Needless to say, excitement was at a fever pitch in our home as the countdown to the show began.
Being a pedantic planner, I had it all worked out. We woke up on the Thursday morning and got ourselves ready with plenty of time to spare – puffy princess dress on, ballet bun done, tiara secured, glitter in hair and on every square inch of exposed skin… oh, and I also dressed Lulu Pie. (Just kidding, that was all her. Or was it…) Having read a life-savingly helpful, thoroughly detailed blog post by Being Maddie’s Mom who had attended the show the previous day I felt that I was excellently equipped with more than enough knowledge about timing, parking, cash requirements, etc. All that was left to do was collect the tickets and be on our merry way, arriving, as planned, with a whole hour and a bit to spare.
After checking and double checking with The Husdabind that I could definitely collect the tickets myself, even though he bought and paid for them, and armed with his bank card and ID book for safety measures, we were off! Visions of the wonderfully exciting adventure that we were about to share together danced in our heads, Disney music filled the car and happy butterflies fluttered about in our tummies! In my mind’s eye I saw us arriving with ample time, casually strolling hand in hand through the parkade to the entrance, serenely swanning about, hopping between display counter to merchandise stall with my glowing-faced, sparkly child trotting alongside, perhaps buying a big popcorn and a slushie in a fancy, worth-being-overpriced mug to set the mood before wandering into the arena and taking our seats. Calm, collected, positive and special.
And that’s when life happened – more specifically, our life. Enter: The Rookie Error. You see, in our family there is simply no such thing as a plan coming together as it was intended – we’re ridiculously well acquainted with Murphy (‘s law), we consider him an old friend.
With my buzzing, flushed-faced princess in tow I waited in the ticket collection line, presenting The Husdabind’s booking confirmation, bank card and ID book to the cashier behind the counter with a victorious flourish. We had made it! There was plenty of time to spare, this was going so smoothly.. until suddenly it wasn’t. The stoic face behind the counter took one look at my proud presentation and said “No.” I was confused. “…No?” A nod. Apparently without The Husdabind there, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it was highly possible that the bubbling, ballet-bunned, blue vision besides me and I could very possibly be a criminal syndicate, out to steal a helpless, grown man’s seats at the ice-dancing princess extravaganza. Clearly we were imposters.
I tried my luck to evoke some compassion calling on the big guns, ‘the ga-ga eyed wangle’. I tried my best to explain to the Guardian of The Tickets that they really had been bought for us, and that to go back and fetch The Husdabind in order to present him as proof would be pretty close to Mission Impossible due to his recent op which left him highly immobile, unable to drive or walk. Going home to fetch him, bringing him all the way back again, making him hobble through a shopping centre at snail’s pace for a 2 second ‘display’ and then turning around to hastily deposit him at the bottom of the very steep driveway again would mean that we would lose about an hour of valuable time and possibly miss the show completely. There was no talking our way out of this one, The Guardian clearly considered this a matter of national security- we had to go back home.
Imposter Elsa and I made the mad dash home, her merrily singing along with Ariel, me on the phone trying my best not to say “I told you so” (I failed), grabbed The Husdabind and hared back again, indelicately kicking him out of a moving car so as not to waste any precious time. (sorry, Mine. Love you. *insert ga-ga eyes*.)
What followed was The Husdabind’s first ever Uber trip because there was simply no time to get him home (he was super impressed by how clean the car was, well done, Uber Guy), a mad dash down to the arena, a street parking miles away and a sprint finish by one frazzled, snarling, sweaty mom, carrying 16kg’s of glittering, singing, blissfully unaware ‘Elsa’.
Arriving as the “5 minutes, please take your seats” call was being made over the PA system, we managed to find a tucked-away snack kiosk and, channelling my deep reserves of inner calm a’la Daniel Tiger so as not to taint this moment for my baby, allowed Lulu Pie to take her time with the big life choice in front of her – should she choose the Mickey Mouse popcorn, the candy floss with the crown on it, or the candy floss with the Olaf hat?
Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! With one happy hand clutching her candyfloss and crown, and the other hand holding tightly to mine, my vision was restored and we took our ice-side seats, even making it with a tiny bit of time to spare!
The skill of the skaters in their stunning costumes as they told perfectly summarised versions of all of my Disney favourites was phenomenal and made the chaos of moments before melt away, but watching my child’s delighted, mesmerised face as the magic unfolded before her was quite possibly the best part of my year to date. Seeing all of her idols in real life and so close to her blew her little mind, she could not believe her eyes, and when Elsa took to the ice in the second half, I was sure that she might actually burst with excitement and reverence.
If I have learnt anything in this life it’s that, no matter how hard or perfectly you plan things, no matter how much control you try to retain over a given situation, life happens. I think it’s important that our kids see that it’s not always going to be smooth sailing and that it’s OK for plans to go awry – it happens! But they also need to understand that, despite the hiccups, they can always choose the way that they react to the hand that they have been dealt, and that if they nurture a healthy sense of humour and are able to roll with the punches, they are going to be just fine in this higgeldy piggeldy life.