Saturday, September 13, 2008

Teary-Eyed at Disneyland

When I decided to spend Mokong’s birthday in Disneyland, I was a bit worried that he might not enjoy it. His list of beloved cartoon characters started with Superman way back 2003, then Batman in 2004, then Spiderman from 2005 to 2007. This year, he started going gaga over Pokemon and very recently, Naruto. Disney characters doesn’t seem to have a place anywhere in his system.

But when he saw the Disney-inspired train which we took to get to Disneyland, he became very, very excited. As soon as we got off the Disney station and climbed the stairs to the huge complex entrance, he was grinning from ear to ear and kept on saying, “Wow, Disneyland!” I didn’t even have to say, “Francis, picture.” He was the one who asked me, “Mommy, picture mo ako.” I was so happy because I can really see in his eyes how happy he was. Even when we were already walking towards the fountain area, Francis simply can’t contain his excitement. He kept blabbing how he would like to have a picture with Mickey Mouse, that he would finally get to see Mickey Mouse in person, etc, etc. That’s when I got teary-eyed.

My sister and I grew up with Disney and Sanrio characters all our childhood life. Our father used to work in Japan and all the gifts and pasalubongs we had were all adorned with Disney and Sanrio characters. But we never get to see Disneyland.

That’s when I realized I am a much better parent than my father was. Sure, he worked hard in another country to be able to provide for our needs, but he never really spent quality time with us when he’s here. I am working just as hard, but I also knew when to play with my son. I don’t think I ever felt the way Francis felt today.

Unmindful of how it might affect my son, I told Francis, “See, Francis, you’re so blessed. I never had this when I was younger. Hindi ‘to ginawa sa ‘kin ng tatay ko.” Nonchalantly, he replied, “Yes, Mommy, I’m so happy!” Buti na lang, he didn’t heard the angst from what I just said.

The rest of the day was just like any Disneyland experience. It was exciting and tiring. We lined up for a photo with some Disney characters, got into some rides (even the Space Mountain which Francis now dreads), watched stage shows, etc. The end of the day was capped by the fireworks display behind Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

When everything was over and we were walking towards the exit, Francis was telling me how much he loved the fireworks display, how he dreaded taking another roller coaster ride, how he liked Stitch talking with the audience, how he liked Tarzan’s treehouse, how he loved the Lion King show… He just won’t stop. If Francis could smile more than his already ear-to-ear grin as he talked, he would have done so. He was really very happy.

And that’s when I got teary-eyed again. Because I, too, was happy to see him THIS happy.

Happy birthday, Francis!