A visit with Merida (from Brave)

IMG_3930So as we sat in the hotel one night we had turned the television on but had never changed the channel.  After a few minutes we realized we were watching the “things to do at Disney” channel.  That is when we saw it, one of the newest character visits at the park was Merida from Brave.  She has become important to my family.  When I was in the hospital, Frank and the girls went to the movies and saw it together.   It was one of the first nights while I was still in the ICU after the prophylactic mastectomy.  The girls got a bit emotional as they drew connections between struggles with Merida’s mother and their own.

According to the television, Merida was in Epcot.  We had already been to Epcot and did not see her.  We tried to look it up on the internet but found a wide array of stories.  Seems she is so new that as they tested the character and first put her out with crowds she moved around a bit.  We were able to find some cast members who told us exactly where to find her, in Magic Kingdom.

Thursday morning we had plans for breakfast at Cinderella’s castle.  Merida was right down the path from there so right from breakfast we went. It was 25 minutes before she was even due to start her day the line was forming.  We took our place and patiently waited.  AT 9:15 the door opened and in the line moved.  They have set her up in an area that was being used for Rapunzel the last time we were at the park.  From what we are told during the initial roll out kids were allowed to shoot an arrow with her but it seems that has stopped.  I can only assume that it took too long. For those wondering what happened to Rapunzel, it seems that she will join the new Princess Fairytale Hall currently under construction.IMG_3925

The visit was excellent! She chats with the kids and is very playful.  She stole the hat of one of the cast members at one point hiding it behind her back.  They all play along looking around for it as she places it on a father in line.  She then is the one to “find it” announcing that “he took it!”.  With others she takes children and hides with them or tells silly stories.  It makes for a much longer line, but a much more fun and interactive visit.IMG_3927

When it was time for Meg and Madi to visit, Merida came over to the line to meet them.  She immediately took their books and signed talking the entire time.  The girls walked with her over to the picture spot.  They posed and then both gave her a hug.  Frank and I were starting to move along when we noticed Merida and Madi sneaking off to the side of the stage.  They hide and snuck around for a few seconds until “found” by other cast members.  She then gave Madison a hug and we were on our way.IMG_3931

I know this sounds ridiculous but it brought a small tear to my eye.  It made Madison’s day! Well worth the wait!

Brave…the movie

While I was in the Hospital after my  prophylactic mastectomy, Frank and the girls went to the movies to see Disney’s Brave.  I remember when they got to the hospital the girls hugging me and telling me that they all cried at the movie. I was not too aware of the plot.  The girls told me that they thought of me when the princess almost lost her mommy which is why they cried.  Frank compared me to the momma bear.  I was intrigued  but I was still on the pain pump so details of any conversation from that time period are a bit hazy but it stuck with me for several reasons.  One because I was happy that they were out doing things together.  Another because whatever had struck them about the movie caused them to talk which is something that the girls did not often do with their father.  This movie was an important bonding time for the three of them that has continued nicely to this day.

Since the movie was important to them, especially to Madison, I wanted receiving it to be just as important.  For Christmas, 120530_XX_MeridaBraveEX.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeMadi received the DVD and a play set that included both Princess Merida and Angus (her horse).  She was very excited!  Usually when we get a new movie there is a big rush for the girls to watch it but not this time.  The three of them agreed that we all needed to watch it together.

So today was the day.  I made hot chocolate for the girls and I and the four of us settled in for movie time.  The girls even took turns sitting on my lap, which is not normal nor it is easy these days with their sizes.

The movie was very good!  There were no tears this time but I understand imageswhy there were the first time.  In the movie due to decisions made by the princess, the queen is turned into a bear and unless the bond that was broken can be repaired, the spell will not be able to be reversed and her mother will be lost forever.  She needs to be Brave to save her mother and protect her from hunters while trying to reverse the spell.  Even in her darkest day with hunters upon her, the momma bear still protects the princess fully knowing that she is in the situation because of her daughter. My baby girls explained that when they saw it while I was in the hospital, they thought of me as the Brave momma bear who they would never want to lose and that they needed to protect me.  Pretty cool!

As I have stated many times throughout the process, the babies who I was so worried about somewhere right in front of my eyes grew into beautiful, caring young girls.  I am so proud of them both!

And as a movie review, I would give Brave 2 thumbs up!  A great family movies that can spark even better life lesson conversations!


“Brave” revisited

Since the beginning of this entire process, at least the beginning of telling other people what decision I had made regarding my health, the decision to voluntary have my breast removed in order to not become a cancer statistic, I have lost count of the amount of time I have been told how brave I am.  It comes in different forms, brave, strong, how much people respect me, etc.

I find these comments to be as strange now as I have since the beginning. I posted a page called “Brave” in June and I am left with the same question today as I had then, is it brave to do the only thing really available to possibly prevent cancer and extend your time? I remember the day I got the call with the pathology report, “My holy shit day“, I was numb.  That call was the reality staring me in the face of what would have been had I not had the surgery.  The basic guarantee that within the next few years, a cancer patient.

In some ways I feel pressure,  I have always been the strong one.  Even when I worked, I was sent into situations that needed to be fixed.  I was the one who dealt with the “problem” employees, implementing unpopular changes or the tough decisions.  Honestly, I like to be in those positions.  I like a challenge but this is different.  There have been many days when I have felt like pure shit yet someone texts or sees you near the mail box and the last thing they expect to hear from me is the truth. I don’t mean that to sound bad, I mean it makes me feel good that people look at me this way, just sometimes I guess things are not always as they appear.

So, Brave?  Running like hell away from something I saw running toward me? To me the only decision I had to make. But if my story can help someone, inspire someone well good!  Take control!

Two more days until Newpples….

Took the girls to the salon today for back to school cuts.  I think they enjoy it just a bit too much.