I snap the Ziplock bag full of jewelry and find an unoccupied spot in my suitcase between my bras and blouses. Could this suitcase BE any more stuffed? (you read that in Chandler Bing’s voice, didn’t you?)
I’ve got everything I could possibly need and backups of them all just in case. You never know, right? I’ve been checking off mental lists–planning for this once in a lifetime vacation for the past six months. We’re taking the kiddos to the place where dreams come true!
Not Vegas, people.
I’ve researched online, ordered and studied books, perused restaurant menus, read attraction reviews, planned our daily itineraries, secured dining reservations, watched planning videos, read blogs devoted to Disneyworld, made autograph books and coloring books for the kids, and overall tried to think of everything.
I want this to be perfect. For months I’ve dreamed of my kids’ faces smiling–glowing in the light of the fireworks as we stand near Cinderella’s castle watching the magic spectacle. I’ve played and replayed in my mind a fantasy reel of my delighted daughter running into the arms of Princess Aurora. I’ve secretly smiled thinking about my little boy getting dressed as a pirate to play with the characters. In my head cinema, the vacation looks like an Instagram filtered perfect week.
We leave tomorrow, and as I’m packing my last minute essentials, I’m beginning to get a nauseating feeling in my stomach.
I’m nervous. I’m really nervous and I can’t help thinking about Jay Gatsby.
Stay with me here.
Everyone has been rereading Gatsby since the new movie this summer–which I’ve yet to see– and I’m no exception.
Reading Gatsby as an adult is an entirely different experience than reading it as a high school Literature student, but that’s another story.
In school, we learned how Gatsby was really about the American Dream–the constant and crippling longing for what ultimately is just out of our reach. Desiring what is here and yet not really here at all.
Gatsby spent years in a dreamy state over Daisy. He stood at the end of his pier looking toward that green light with his guts knotted in an anxious pull toward his love.
When they began meeting at his infamous parties; their eyes having silent conversations across the tops of their champagne flutes, I’m sure he felt he was finally going to attain what he had long sought after and painfully dreamed about.
But when they did embrace, it was hollow. How could this complicated love triangle ever measure up to years of fantasies about their love?
I’m glad Gatsby ends up dead.
Oh yeah, spoiler alert.
I recently took a personality profile where, among other qualities, it listed me as a “Dreamer.” I’m prone to get lost in lofty fantasies about life. I serve up airbrushed versions of conversations and situations before actually experiencing them.
I’m sparkling and witty in my head. My friends say the perfect thing that makes me feel valued and loved. Everyone at my party has the best night of their lives. My children look up to me with eyes full of love and say, “Thank you for this vacation. I love you, Mama.”
I’m terrified that our vacation, much like Gatsby’s complicated romance, will turn sour. We’ll end up a modern day Griswold tale or family version of The Hangover. The kids will fight, whine, or get sick. The hot as hell hubby and I will be ragged at the end of each itineraried touring day, and regret the trip altogether. We’ll have horrible weather, a flat tire, and our money stolen.
Ultimately, I’m scared of reality coming no where near the level of awesome that is my dreamworld.
I’m relying heavily on Disney magic to help with this condition of mine; this overly analytical fantasy land I can’t seem to shake.
After all, there’s a very famous Disney song that says, “When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.”
I’m gonna hold you to that Disney.