GRAMMY’S A “GO”
Grammy is my mother who lives in South Florida where I was raised. She and I have a long, difficult history. While I am a Neurotic Disney Mom (NDM), Grammy is just a Neurotic Mom (NM). It is the “Disney” element that makes one’s neurosis an endearing quality rather than an unbearable one. For this reason, NDMs and NMs are worlds apart and often clash.
This has always been the case for Grammy and me. But when I conceived my first little mouseketeer, I decided it was time to send all the hard feelings off to Never Land. Since that time I have done my best to endure the onslaught of guilt-inducing jabs as well as passively resist the attempts at manipulation and overlook the odd behaviors that make Grammy who she is. I find I am mildly successful at this as long as my contact with Grammy is brief and infrequent.
Inviting her on a WDW trip in such close quarters will be a test of every NDM fiber in my body. Due to the difficult and uncomfortable situations that arise in Grammy’s presence, I almost didn’t invite her to my wedding. The notion that I would invite her on my 10th anniversary trip never entered my worst nightmare. But here I am–about to do that very thing–and I’m actually praying she will accept the invitation. For the first time in my life it occurs to me that maybe my obsession with Disney is over the top. But it is what it is, and there’s no turning back.
“Hello, Grammy,” I greet my mother on the phone. “Well, hello,” she returns, “What are you up to?” I use this as a springboard for my persuasive proposition. I know this will be a bit of a hard sell. Grammy is famous for her frugality. When Grammy does stay on Disney property, she is an All-Star Resorts kind of girl. It is certain that she has never ponied up this much money just for accommodations, but I have a few things working in my favor.
The first thing is that my children and husband are my travel companions. As difficult as my relationship with Grammy has been, I give her credit for the way she loves her grandchildren and son-in-law. Over the years, I have been astounded at the way she melts around them and the hurdles she will jump for them while she throws me a back-handed compliment like, “It’s just amazing that you’ve actually managed so well for yourself in life.”
The second thing is that Grammy hasn’t seen our family in two years due to the fact that we have been unable to travel. This has greatly bothered her. It is obvious that the interstate goes both ways and that my family has had serious circumstances prevent its run down it. But Grammy feels that her excuses for not making the long-distance trip are more valid than ours; therefore, a reunion has been impossible. Now that our family will be within three hours of her home, I know that Grammy will find it difficult to resist meeting us.
The final thing working in my favor is that Grammy is slightly inclined to loosen her purse strings for Disney. Because she is not a NDM, this truth puzzles me somewhat. Perhaps it relates to the fact that during all our dysfunctional years, everything seemed OK whenever we were at Disney. But no matter the reason, it still remains that–on occasion–Grammy has thrown financial caution to the wind in order to find the family magic that happens at Disney.
“Well, what do you think,” I inquire. Grammy hesitates slightly and says, “Hmmmm . . . . it has been a very difficult year as far as money is concerned. Do you know how much the cost of homeowner’s insurance is now? Why don’t you just come and stay at my house for a week? You never visit me anymore. I miss your family terribly. I think about the children every day, and DH is long overdue in getting treated to my brownies.” I roll my eyes as I listen to the guilt-laden remarks. Being only a NM, she is missing the point ENTIRELY!
“There are a couple reasons we can’t do that, ” I gently explain. “First, we need to run the kitchen. There is no way we can do that at your house without completely displacing you. I can’t displace you in your own home. Doing that is awkward for everyone. But also, this is our anniversary trip. A visit to your home would be lovely, but it isn’t very anniversary-ish. Being at Disney is the ‘anniversary’ part.” Grammy petitions, “There are plenty of places that you could go to near here. Why, a very nice b-b-q restaurant just opened the other week. It would be very special for an anniversary dinner.” I take a moment to envision greasy fingers and b-b-q sauce dribbling down my chin as a way of commemorating this special milestone in my life. The thought makes me cringe. Following that is a vision of engaging in intimate anniversary activities under my mother’s roof. I am further thrown into the hee-bee-jee-bee zone, and I know that I cannot discuss this with Grammy anymore.
In an attempt to get our focus back in place, I toss Grammy the one bone that should seal the deal. “You know, we will have two bedrooms at the resort, so there is room for another person. You could bring Buddy. Wouldn’t he just love a trip like this,” I suppose. Buddy is my sister’s oldest son and Grammy’s favored grandchild. He is the recipient of an unending stream of special attention and gifts from Grammy. If giving Grammy the chance to lavish Buddy with the vacation of his dreams doesn’t clench it, then nothing will. But just as I predict, Grammy agrees that a WDW trip of this magnitude cannot be passed up.
“Wonderful,” I exclaim. “I’ll send you an e-mail with all the resort information. You are going to love this place. It’s beautiful! And Buddy is going to have more fun than he’s ever had before. DD7 and DS5 are going to be so happy that you both are coming. Just think about it. We’re all going to have a great time.” Grammy concurs with this declaration. I can hear the enthusiasm beginning to break through now that she has made her decision.
We hang up the phone, and I marvel at what just took place. Somehow I had a conversation with my mom that was only mildly irritating. More than that, it ended with me feeling grateful for her and even slightly excited about seeing her soon. How is it that Disney can do this for families? The reality is mind-boggling.
As I search for Bill’s number to secure our now DEFINITE reservation, I feel a mixture of warmth, giddiness and peace. Finally, the pixie dust has fallen on me and mine. We are headed to the place where dreams do come true. Let the planning begin!
*for information about renting Disney Vacation Club points contact NDM#1 at firstname.lastname@example.org