Clouds filled the sky as the Disney resort bus rolled away from our pick-up spot at Port Orleans French Quarter. We were on our way to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom — our outfits fluffed, our faces painted, our excitement brimming over. After days of rain, we were ready for some fun!
But the sky was full of clouds. Dark, heavy clouds.
We sat at the back of the bus, and I watched as Grey, my 7-year-old, talked to his uncle about the weather. Grey and his older brother were dressed as Tonto and the Lone Ranger, respectively. Their Uncle Michael was a bank robber they intended to catch in front of Cinderella Castle.
We needed the weather to hold. We were too excited to have our hearts (and effort) broken by rain. The Boo-to-You Halloween parade was our favorite moment of the year, let alone our vacation. We looked forward to it for months.
You haven’t experienced Walt Disney World until you’ve seen the Haunted Mansion gravediggers dance down Main Street igniting sparks, as their shovels hit and drag along the pavement. It’s genuine magic to spark a thousand smiles.
Michael nodded out the window and ruminated, “It really looks bad. We might get rained out. I wonder if they cancel the parade when it rains.”
As Quinn stared thoughtfully at the dark clouds, Grey smiled and shrugged, offering, “It’ll be okay, we’ll make it work.”
Michael’s face broke in a smile, and he looked up at me across the aisle with a look on his face that so clearly said, “This kid.”
It was one of the first times I had heard Grey say those particular words, and they caught me too, because I say them all the time and didn’t realize it. Without meaning to, “It’ll be okay, we’ll make it work” was something of a parenting mantra for my husband and me.
Because we make it work.
Our family is built on perseverance. We lost our home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, down to a bare slab, in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Almost immediately, and at the worst possible time, I became pregnant with Grey.
We had nothing more than the three days of clothing we evacuated with and had to temporarily move in with my parents while we regrouped. Months later, my husband lost his job, along with so many other Coast residents whose companies were devastated. Quinn had just turned one, and now a new baby was on the way.
We made it work brilliantly.
Thereafter, when the tides began to turn against our perceived favor, we would say, “It’ll be okay, we’ll make it work.” We said it out loud and with grit earned of experience. We said it with knowing optimism. And now, the kids were hearing us.
We are raising optimists who believe that all will be okay, and work out. And through us, they have learned the perseverance to make it so.
Incrementally, and through modeling over time, our children have internalized the message. Failed test? Lost job? Rain on your parade?
It’ll be okay. We’ll make it work.
As for that Halloween parade? It rained on both runs of it on both nights we attended. Four rained-out parades. Four! But it was okay.
We stuck it out, laughed in our costume-obscuring ponchos as the rain washed off our makeup, and lined Main Street for each of the four times the rain-delayed parade finally ran. Because even soggy magic is magic.
It was more than okay. We totally made it work.
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