It is no surprise that we as a family are head over heels for Disney’s Mickey Mouse. Pretty much anything Disney related gets us excited. I frequented Disneyland Resort as a little girl and knew once I became a mom myself that we’d adventure through Disneyland together. It all started with Mickey Mouse, literally everything and we’re so happy to have partnered with Hanna Andersson to celebrate his 90th Anniversary!
My son and I used to go to Disneyland Resort once a week. Most days we’d drive over in the afternoon, ride our favorites, snack on a churro and head home. There were a few days during the month that we’d stay till the evening to watch the nighttime parade. Romping around the Disneyland theme parks soon became our thing. I knew Disneyland through out even before my son was born. BUT getting the chance to take him and re-see the parks through his eyes, was magical. There really is nothing more incredible than watching your children experience things, happy and exciting things. You know when their face lights up and they let our a deep giggle. Or when they stop in their tracks in complete aw. I also loved the feeling of his little hands wrapped around my leg when waiting in line for our favorite rides. Disneyland was our place.
My son, his name was Ryan, on his last day here on Earth we went to Disneyland. We woke up early and entered Disney California Adventure park being the first to enter that day! We ran straight for his favorite ride in Cars Land and rode it with giant smiles on our faces. You know, I had no idea I’d be forced to say to good bye to my Ryan that night. Though I have to believe that us being able to enjoy Disneyland together just one more time was meant to be. If you are familiar with our story then you know, that night we lost Ryan quick and out of the blue. It tore my inside out and our whole world crashed down. I share it all on my blog, but I’ll be the first one to tell you that how we lost him doesn’t matter. What matters is that we continue to live in his honor. What matters is that we still do the things Ryan loved to do. What matters is that we share how we kept living despite the hurt and pain thrown our way.
My first time back to Disneyland after my son passed was something I was dreading. I felt scared because I didn’t want a place that was so grand to suddenly became a dark place for me. I knew I had to go to just see, to just experience it now with Ryan up in Heaven. I had to go for him. So I went. That day was immensely sad with hints of happiness around every corner. Visiting Disneyland that day was when I really began to understand that I could feel sad and happy at the same time. Come to find out, I feel happy and sad nearly everyday now that is OK. It is OK to feel two feelings at the same time. I realized that Disneyland was still our place. It still held our memories and laughs. I decided to keep going just as we did before and even today it feels like Ryan meets us there.
My daughter Mila was born after we lost our son Ryan. In our family we speak of him daily and remember him out loud. Mila knows who her big brother is and she tells me that he lives in the sky. There sibling bond is like no other and I am so honored to call Ryan and Mila my children. Soon after Mila came into our lives we took her Disneyland. Mila now is two and adores anything Disney just like her mom and big brother. We frequent Disneyland Resort once a week and work in a few nights a month where we stay late for the nighttime parade. Mila enjoys different things within the park than her brother did, which I love to see. I love to see how they differ. What I find the most magical is that I can now walk around a place with both my kids at the same time, and that really doesn’t happen for me anywhere else. Disneyland is still our place.
You know, this motherhood of mine isn’t pretty and tied up with a bow. What happened to me is every parents nightmare. Though it happened to me and I am proud to think that God thought me strong enough to endure it. I believe in so many things but one thought I live by is, life isn’t about what happens to you, it is about how you react to what happens to you. Today my family of four visit Disneyland Resort any chance we get. For us it means we can all be together. When you see us together you will only see three, but our son beams from our smiles and the fun we have together as a family.
Disney’s Mickey Mouse will forever mean the most to us. We are so grateful for what Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Disneyland in general. When Hanna Andersson asked us to share why Disney’s Mickey Mouse was important to us, I couldn’t pass. I know he means different things to different families across the world. I’m just honored I could share about ours. We love the new Disney’s Mickey Mouse pajamas in celebration of his 90th Anniversary! I love that they are red, which was Ryan’s favorite color. The gold shines bright along all the memories our family has within Disneyland.