A post about Disney and my Mom…

This post doesn’t have anything to do with books…a girl has to have other things in life too, right?!


So, my family returned from a trip to Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago. This picture to my personal Facebook page and Instagram account has had me thinking…

Ever since I can remember, my parents have called me Tigger. It never became a nickname that anyone else called me, but my parents probably referred to me as Tigger more than they called me by my actual name. My dad STILL calls me Tigger. Yes, Tigger is a Disney character (well, actually, an A.A. Milne character, but the Tigger of my childhood is Disney), but I never equated my nickname with anything other than just something my parents liked and that stuck. For some reason, it is not until now (this trip, actually) that I really connected it with an actual love of Disney (I’m slow sometimes…only took over 40 years). And, this has me thinking about my mom (or, as I called her up until her last day – “mommy”). Disney has been woven throughout my entire life, thanks to my mother. If you knew her, I think you are probably thinking, “Huh? The TK I knew loved DISNEY?!” I don’t think you would know that she adored Disney just by speaking to her. She never really mentioned it in conversation. Our house wasn’t decorated in anything Mickey Mouse. She would have never purchased leggings with Minnie on them. And, she was not exactly warm and fuzzy at first glance. BUT, as I think back to my childhood – we were actually at Walt Disney World a lot, considering how far away it is, considering how expensive it is, considering that my parents were not ones to take me out of school for a vacation so we always went in the summer and were DYING of heat stroke. My mom even went to Disney World (as an adult) before I was born. In fact, I feel like my parents must have been some of the first visitors to Walt Disney World. A story that I often heard during my childhood was that my mom was pregnant with me (she did not realize it at the time) and she rode Space Mountain. It was the 1970’s, and she was wearing a halter top. The ride is pretty bumpy…apparently, she gave WDW a show. My nursery was entirely done in Winnie-the-Pooh. I still have a large yellow blanket from my crib. My mom loved watching movies and some of my earliest memories are of watching The Parent Trap, Dumbo, and whatever came on the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday afternoons. I had all of the Disney books (I think I saved Greenbacks for them at Piggly Wiggly? Or maybe bought them at Bilo? Did anyone else do this?). And, amazingly enough, she even let me work there one summer when I was college. My mom was super overprotective and really would have loved it if I just lived in a bubble in her house, so looking back on this, it was HUGE!

Feeling the love!

We often talked about going back to Disney World as I got older, but for some reason, we never did. I’m not sure when our last trip together was. Adulting got in the way, I guess. I know that when she was diagnosed with lung cancer in August (5 years ago), we talked about taking one last trip. But, by the time she was diagnosed, she was in too much pain to go. So, now…when I go, I think about her. I wish she could have been on this most recent trip with us to see the joy and love of Disney being passed down to her grand daughter. My toddler loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and reads books about Mickey and the rest of the crew all of the time. I try to limit the amount of screen time she gets, but if we are watching a Disney program, that somehow doesn’t seem so bad.

To me, Disney World isn’t an expensive tourist trap filled with rides and food. It’s family. It’s a place that lives in my heart.

What places remind you of your loved ones?


About Valerie Byrd Fort

I live in South Carolina. I am passionate about libraries, books, and reading. I am also a mom. This is my blog about those things.
This entry was posted in Mommy, Parenting, This and that, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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