Wednesday early morning, April 30th, we evacuated a flood, Thursday we tried to salvage as much as we could and Friday I scrambled the day away packing our family for a Disney vacation while my husband waded in water late into the night moving furniture and gathering as much as he could before we left.
The day we realized we lost everything, we considered postponing our trip but knew within an instant that would be a bad idea, that we would somehow make this work. So over the course of 48 hours, we salvaged clothing, suitcases, some books, some toys, toiletries, etc. to put together what we would need for our family vacation. Shoes dried out in my mother’s back deck in the sun in hopes of being dry enough by the time our flight took off.
We woke early to catch our flight; all piling into my mother’s car because our van, we would later find out, was totaled. Thankfully, it got us to my mom’s house only a mile away when we needed it most but that was all it could do; it thought it could and it did. We arrived at the airport to find out our flight was delayed by three hours. So, we took the opportunity to go to some stores to a) get my husband a new phone since he lost his while salvaging our stuff b) get my husband shoes as all of his were ruined in the flood c) get my husband new clothes as he didn’t have any t-shirts. He had been working tirelessly to save our items that he did not save his own personal belongings. After some breakfast and shopping for necessities, we made it back to the airport just in time for our flight.
Arriving in Orlando, we began a fun but completely exhausting trip of magic for our kids. I have always loved Disney World and have always felt the Mickey magic but this trip was different. Maybe it was the heat, the bigger than usual crowds or the in-your-face capitalism that never bothered me so much before, but this trip was exactly what we needed yet a very difficult one.
By day 2, I had another “moment” as I now call them. I woke early on our second day, had coffee, read emails, and began writing my first “The Flood” post. Soon after a few paragraphs were typed, the tears welled in my eyes and I knew I needed to regroup. I hadn’t done yoga since my Yin yoga class the morning before the flood’s rains began. So, I put down my iPad and sat in a half lotus pose. The sobs rattled beneath my chest but I breathed through them repeating my mantra, “its only stuff”. My body was sore from only one day of walking around an amusement park but also from the past days of wading in knee-deep water and the stress of loss. I managed a few poses before the tears succumbed. I allowed them because the release is as important as the acceptance. Without the release, acceptance isn’t possible.
The week went by and each day I felt completely worked over, completely worn out and ragged from the parks and the stress of what we were dealing with while still on “vacation”, yet we still managed to have some fun. We ruminated on how “It’s a Small World” kept the humidity down with the flood they constantly dealt with. We joked that maybe we should just turn our home into such a joyful place. We laughed that we were having such a conversation at all! Winnie the Pooh experienced a flood on his ride but everything turned out alright in the end as we knew it would for us. We learned about flood survival in Epcot’s Innoventions but most important, we allowed ourselves to be whisked away in excitement and thrill on rides like Expedition Everest, Rockin’ Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror and I got some kisses on the carousel We saw the joy and wonder in our kid’s eyes and did everything we could to provide them with as much fun, and ice cream, as we could.
We spent our time on the phone with insurance, FEMA and rental opportunities and my husband worked at night when the fun came to an end. But it was an escape because if we had stayed home, we would have watched the water in and around our home ever so slowly recede like watching a pot of water boil that holds no magic.
The trip came to an end as they always do and while it was hard to say goodbye to fun and “yes” time for our kids, it was good to get back to reality and reclaim some order on our lives. Reclaiming order sometimes means deconstructing first and one cannot build back up until walls have been torn down.