Monday, 23 October 2017

Celebrate the Magic

On my very first day in Walt Disney World almost five years ago, my new friends and I ventured into Magic Kingdom to discover the night time spectacular Wishes. It was absolutely incredible, and had a genuine magic about it that made every single person watching it feel as though it was speaking directly to them. 

My favourite part, however, was the short projection show that was on in the build up to Wishes. Celebrate the Magic. It was, exactly as the name suggests, a ten minute celebration of everything Disney- from a wide range of characters and music with clever transitions from one world to another to quotes from Walt himself- it really did make the most wonderful watching, and it was a bittersweet night last year when Dale and I watched the last ever showing of it before it was replaced.

On the day that I saw it for the first time I was relatively emotional- you know, having just moved my life across the world to make my own dreams come true- and so let the tears stream all the way through both shows. 

But there was one line in it- a quote from Walt Disney- that sent tears dancing down my face every single time I watched it, and will never get old. 

I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing- that it was all started by a mouse. 

What a brilliant quote. 

The reminder that Walt Disney's idea to create a mouse as a character that day that then grew into all of those other characters, the parks, stores, music, shows, films, cruise ships- the list is endless- is filled with magic in itself. 

I am fascinated by the idea that at any given moment something could pop into your head or into your life and change your future forever. 

I heard a story yesterday about a couple who met in Hong Kong when the woman- an English midwife working abroad- was asked by a colleague to go with her on a date to accompany her new boyfriend's friend. And the rest is history. They have three children, who between them have seven children. That's a whole lot of humans that wouldn't exist if she hadn't gone on that date. 

Entire worlds changed because of that decision to go on that date. 

I often think about the time I was bored on New Year's Day in between films and turkey sandwiches and found a job in Disney World online and decided to apply on a whim. I genuinely didn't think anything of it. 

But when I got that first email inviting me to the first round of interviews I was overwhelmed with the feeling that my life might be about to change. Which of course it did. 

By the time I knew I was going to move to Orlando I knew that my life was about to change. 

But again, like the time I applied for the job, I often think about the time I had been living in Orlando and working in Disney World for almost four months when I'd had enough of one particularly irritating cast member. I stormed around the pub from where I was working on reception to where my friend Dumbo was working in quick service so that I could moan. I let rip, listing off the many annoying things he had done that day when Dumbo cleared her throat and said 'um...Rebecca. This is Dale. It's his first day of training.' 

I was mortified- I'm so rarely a moaner and now this poor lad was going to think I was terrible. 

What I didn't think was- the entire course of my life has just changed. Which again- of course it had. I had just met my future husband.  

Sara Bareilles has been writing songs that better express how I feel than I could ever write for my entire adult life, and as a result has written more or less the entire soundtrack to my relationship with Dale.

At every stage of our relationship one of her songs has made an appearance and beautifully summed up where we were.

Just to be clear they weren't all love songs- there's one song that I have quoted at him on many occasions because it so fantastically sums up why I've got my cross face out. 

In June I walked down the aisle to the song that I fell in love with around the same time as I realised that I was going to marry Dale (a couple of years before he proposed, I might add), and as time goes on Sara continues to write songs for me and sum up my feelings beautifully. 

So you can imagine my absolute joy when I discovered Everything Changes last week. 

The first line is: Today's a day like any other, but I am changed, I am a mother- in an instant.

Now I've been relatively emotionally stable since I went into labour. I didn't cry when my baby was born, I didn't cry on Infamous Day Three when the hormones normally kick in, I didn't cry the first time I heard her cry. 

But when, on day five, I heard that line 'in an instant'- everything finally hit me all at once. 

Once again, Sara Bareilles has said everything I want to express and can't. 

My friend Simba had asked me a couple of days before whether everything had changed or whether everything felt the same, and I had found it really difficult to answer. 

Generally before I gave birth Dale and I tended not to get up every three hours in the night, we didn't sleep at the foot of the bed, have a lounge filled with various brightly coloured items, or have around seven visitors a day. 

But we're still watching 24 and Strictly, still eating too much Ben and Jerry's and promising to be healthier tomorrow, still walking into town every day and still finding huge joy in a hot drink. We're still seeing friends, reading books (I am, anyway), and still writing (again, just me). 

Oh, and now we have a daughter. We're parents. We have a child. We're bringing up a human being. 

It doesn't matter how I say it, no words will give it the weight it deserves.

And it happened in an instant.

I found out I was pregnant particularly early in the pregnancy- I had only been pregnant for 12 days when I did a positive test- which means that we spent nine months knowing that we were having a baby. Nine months creating a nursery, buying a whole host of things we hadn't even known existed, arguing over names, washing teeny, tiny clothes, watching my bump grow. 

And then one day- without any warning- I went into labour. I woke up that morning, had breakfast, had a long chat with my mum, watched a film, spoke to my Grandma on the phone, did some ironing- had a regular day. Then at three in the afternoon my contractions started. I stayed quite calm. Didn't tell anyone. Had dinner. Watched a couple of Harry Potter films, It Takes Two (the Strictly spin off, not the Olsen twins film), some old recorded episodes of Would I Lie to You, some Gavin and Stacey, Friends. Had two baths. Still absolutely no acknowledgement from me that I was genuinely going to have a daughter soon. Then it was 1am. Dale got home from work. Let's pop to the hospital, just see what they think. 1.30am. Arrived at the hospital. 7.44am. Became a mother. In an instant. 

No amount of notice can prepare you for how instant it is. 

And Everything Changes. Of course it does. The entire world has just changed because the most gorgeous, immediately hilarious, perfectly formed human has just entered the world and she's yours. 

And who I was has disappeared, it doesn't matter now you're here. 

I like to think that I haven't (and won't!) have a personality transplant, but I remember Pumbaa's husband saying after their son was born that he genuinely didn't care what others thought since he had become a dad, and I like to think I understand exactly what he meant. 

And I swear I'll remember to say we were both born today. 

If you've recently- or ever, in fact- had a baby, listen to Everything Changes from the musical Waitress written by Sara Bareilles. It's like she was there.

Everything and nothing has changed. The entire world has just changed because the most incredible human grown by me has just entered it and I'm not sure I will ever get my head around it. But we will continue as we always have- celebrating the magic, spreading the joy. Enjoying our food, each other, The Apprentice, everything Disney. 

And now, Mia Sophie Harper Stark. Born 7.44am. 5lb13. 

Tuesday 10th October 2017. 

And I swear I'll remember to say we were both born today. 

I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing: that it was all started by a mouse.   

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