The mention of my name and tap from behind startles me a little bit. Mychicagomommy and MomRN are still chatting next to me, and I hadn’t realized anyone else was standing behind me. Shocked, I slowly turn to face the one that uttered my name.
My gaze meets with a bubbly personality who is ready to embrace me. She has an ear to ear grin and looks so excited that she might actually skyrocket through the roof. I know she is one of my kind. The crazed expression makes her and I kindred spirits, but I am unable to match her beautiful face with anyone in my memory banks.
“HI!!!” she exclaims and gives me a hug which would make any of the Country Bears proud. I love this person, but WHO IS THIS PERSON?! Apparently, I am supposed to know her. I deduce that it must be someone from twitter since that was the primary platform for discussion of this trip. Sadly, I acknowledge that the tiny 1/4 square inch avatars on tweetdeck are not serving me well in this moment, and I feel foolish. I am tempted to ask her to strike her twitter pose to jog my memory, but decide against it.
Taking a stab in the dark, I venture a guess at this vision of Disney neuroticism standing before me. “Zanna?” I ask. “What?” my unidentified neurotic friend says in a confused manner. Hmmm . . . so it is not my blogging friend, Zanna of Zannaland. I mutter in complete embarrassment, “I’m so sorry. I don’t recognize you. Would you tell me your name?” “I’m Traci!” she emphatically states.
Pixie wings! It is one of my closest friends that I have been dying to meet since we rode the ups and downs of being Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel semi-finalists together. I should have known her simply by her aura, but I am loathe to find that my extra sensory perception skills are dull at the moment. “You don’t look anything like your avatar,” I observe. “Did you change your hair?” She confesses that her hair is different than her twitter avatar, and I feel let off the hook.
At that point, the squealing begins, and Traci and I start giggling like the Mad Hatter. My three little dwarves whom have stood watching this event unfold with great interest ask, “Mommy, is that a real NDM?” “Yes, it is,” I confess. They are in awe. Even though they are offspring of the original Neurotic Disney Mom, they have been anxious to come face-to-face with other NDMs. Other NDMs classify as bonafide celebrities in their world; I am just their lunatic mom.
“There are some more NDMs in the other room,” Traci points out. Behind her an open door leads to a connecting room, filled with snacks and drinks. Standing amongst the hospitality refreshments are two more NDMs that I have grown close to via the internet, Jackie and Jen. They haven’t changed their hairstyles and look exactly like their avatars. They are wearing the same crazed smile, giggling just as profusely, and waving wildly at us.
This is an incredible experience. Not even two minutes ago, I was feeling like a Little Mermaid out of water. Now I have found “my people,” and all is right in the World. Apparently I am not the only one to sense the instant ‘ohana. “Can we go with them?” the shorter segment of my traveling party asks. I consent, and the “real” NDMs welcome my brood with open arms. I feel as if I am watching my kids be reunited with their favorite aunties. No one would ever suspect that this is our first time meeting.
I turn back to the pleasant individual behind the hospitality table who has been gathering a plethora of things to ready me for my social media mom experience. She seems pleased that my friendly diversion has granted her a few moments to prepare for my introduction. She takes a deep breath to begin her monologue on DisneySMMoms policies and procedures. I’m nervous. I need to take care to absorb every last syllable this lovely woman is about to share, or I may miss a critical piece of information “I must focus,” I coach myself. So squinting my eyes in concentration, I give the appointed Disney employee my full attention.