Over Memorial Day weekend we spent two days at an amusement park. We’ve never taken a family vacation before. We’ve traveled to visit extended family during the holidays, yes. But we’ve never taken a trip, just us, just to have fun.
The girls and I visited Storyland with my sister last summer – it’s perfectly suited for a younger crowd. This year I could not wait for Brandon to experience Rhema and Hope.
To see and feel and never forget Rhema’s uncontainable-missing two front-teeth grin of sheer glee accompanied by a little giggle and a little wiggle just as the roller coaster plummets. (That look on her face is a comfort to me on harder days. I know my girl has known joy.)
To witness the stuff of fairytale dreams and magic shining in Hope’s eyes as she rides in the pumpkin coach up to the castle and hugs Cinderella. Holding her Daddy’s hand, she believes she’s a beautiful princess, too.
I told him about the “Disability Pass”. The one that allows children with disabilities to avoid waiting in long queues. I felt a smidge of guilt using it at times – like we were cutting the line. Brandon pointed out that it was actually called a VIP pass. And that’s about right. The amusement park staff treated us – the whole family – like “Very Important People.”
Maybe I’m romanticizing things a bit, but it almost seemed like an acknowledgement… like they were saying, ‘We get that life can be extra challenging sometimes. But here, well, just have a good time as a family.’
I looked at my Hope and thought of all the big-little sacrifices she makes as the sibling of a special needs child. This time she held her sister’s hand. And got to go first.
It had me thinking about a heavenly VIP pass. One in which the broken, the needy, the disqualified, the guilty and ashamed… are given a pass, invited in. The King Himself takes the hand and puts a ring of grace on my finger. He makes me a daughter – a princess, adorning me in mercy’s robe and sandals for dancing free.
The use of these passes at parks have generated some controversy. I’ve heard some people complain. I’ve heard others have abused the passes. But at that little park on that special day, we were grateful for the VIP status. We made a point of going to the office and saying ‘thank you, you have no idea, we couldn’t have done this day without your help.’
We rode on every ride together, we acquired funny-colored tongues from rainbow snow cones, we inhaled powdered sugar off fried dough, each of us storing up the memories as treasures in the heart.