Her small hand clenched mine as we wound our way up the hill.
Forward. Left. Forward. Right.
We were navigating the line to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyworld. My daughter, age 7, was not a daredevil and was hesitant to ride. But her dad, older brother and I believed that she would like it. So we marched her towards the loading platform as I gave her hand reassuring squeezes. We took turns telling her, “You’ll be fine”, “You’ll like it”, and “It’s fun, not scary.”
When it came time to ride, she chose to sit beside her father. She knew what I knew, that he would always protect her. My son and I sat behind them.
We took the first corner, climbed, and then fell downward. I couldn’t tell if she was enjoying the ride or not. All I could see was the back of her head and those small hands, so recently clutching mine, now clutching the safety bar. Doubt about taking her on the ride crept into my mind.
Then, I saw it. My husband flashed thumbs up. Next I heard it, her voice whooping with joy.
At that moment, I let go. I let go of my worries that she didn’t like it. I let go of my safety bar. As I felt the rush of wind through my outstretched arms, I let go with my own whoop of joy. When my husband pulled out his phone to snap our picture, and I saw it later, I was so pleased to see her smiling face and all our faces crammed into the frame sharing a moment of joy and exhilaration.
When the ride was over, we weren’t done. We raced back in line, this time both kids leading the way, stopping and waving at me and my husband to hurry up. We went again. And again. In total, over three days at Disney World, we rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad nine times.
She liked it after all.
No, she loved it.
And I loved it, too.
This post was inspired by our family’s trip to DisneyWorld this winter. Have you been? What is your favorite ride?