Thursday, August 28, 2008

Natalie Becomes Tall Enough

Most of the big rides at Disneyland are for kids over 42 inches tall (for some it is 40 and I think the Matterhorn is only 36), and Natalie's been over 40 inches tall since last Christmas... but she's never been tall enough, if you get what I mean.

Perhaps there is a certain rite of passage parents need to go through to accept the fact that their children are getting old, growing up, and being able to handle more of what life can throw at them. They take their first steps, their first bumps, their first disappointments, their first joys…each time, growing stronger, wiser and more able to withstand the journey to adulthood.

For us, one of these little rites of passage has been the “big” rides at Disneyland: Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain. She had to be 40 inches tall to ride any of them but she’s never had an interest in going on them until today…partly because it is her birthday. We are usually emboldened on our birthday or days where we are made to feel special.

Once we got into the Disneyland proper—we made a stopover first at California Adventure because Natalie’s teacher has a fun job in one of the parades and she wanted to see her—we bee-lined to City Hall to announce that it was Natalie’s birthday. They gave her a button with her name on it, and every cast member we came across—and some random people too—wished her a happy birthday. She beamed.

One thing she wanted to do was ride Splash Mountain, now that she was tall enough (you have to be 42 for that one), and before California Adventure closed and the hoards from that park filter into Disneyland, we got in line, which was a brisk 20-minute wait.

Of course, Natalie loved it…and I think I was more worried about her falling out on the big drop than she was, but that’s just the worried parent in me. In the picture—they take snapshots of each boat…er, log, as it plummets down the final fall—Natalie has her hands thrust into the air with an ecstatic look swept across her face, and I’m the one holding onto her like she’s suddenly going to flip into the air and fly away.

It’s funny how protective I can be sometimes. But then again, she’s only going to be five years old for another 364 days.

We’ve got to make them count.

**The picture above is Natalie and I before Splash Mountain started…and yeah, we got soaked!

1 comment:

Grant's Mom said...

That is too funny...since Grant has always been big for his age, well he has been riding some before I would have liked. His cousin took him on Space Mountain (without my permission) when he was 2 1/2 years old. YIKES! But, I totally understand. The "big" ride for us is a roller coaster at Cali Adventure and Indiana Jones...those you have to be 45"...Grant's been about 43" for a long time. He keeps asking at his next birthday if he will be tall enough. I'm with you on accepting them "growing up." Happy Birthday Natalie!


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