Adventures with Uncle Deej - Old Sport's First Trip to Disney

For the last year and a half, I have apparently been under a false impression - I understood that being an uncle meant enjoying all the cool and fun moments with your niece or nephew, before kindly returning them to mom and dad when it was time for the seedy underbelly of parenthood. 

Nobody warned me Uncle-hood involved vomit. Allow me to explain...

Last weekend, MJ and I traveled with my mom, dad and Old Sport to the Hilton Bonnet Creek near Disney. Our being there was something of a secret - my brother had snuck my sister (in-law) away for a weekend of pampering at another Disney hotel, while the rest of us were to surprise her at the front gate of the Magic Kingdom the next morning. There was just one problem...

Old Sport had caught the stomach bug his mom and dad had the day before.

There I was, kicked back at our usual table in the lobby bar, sipping on an old fashioned and awaiting the burger I'd ordered for dinner, when ominous words came in from my mom via text:

"Old Sport sick. Please come out front to help."

I burst through the front doors of the hotel, still unaware of what "sick" actually meant, and then I saw one of the most heartbreaking things of my life. There stood my dad holding Old Sport, who was covered in what might have been chicken nuggets in a former life. The look in Old Sport's eye nearly killed me - he was clearly scared and maybe even a little embarrassed - and now I got the pleasure of entering the bio-hazard zone that was my dad's car and unhooking his car seat. 

This was not what I signed up for, but for this kid....anything.

"For real granddad, this thing has got to go."

The next morning, Old Sport was feeling better and we set off for the Magic Kingdom. This was a moment I had looked forward to for over 2 years - ever since I learned of his impending arrival. There were lots of questions to be answered: Would he scream or puke all over Mickey? Would the crowds and atmosphere be too much for him - he is only 18 months after all. And, perhaps most importantly, would we pull off the surprise for AJ? 

The answer to the last question came first - remarkably, with so many people involved from two different families, AJ had no idea of the surprise gathering. My brother claimed it was the first time he had managed to surprise her in their entire relationship. There was a heap of mushy hugs, and probably a few tears, mixed with a ridiculous number of pictures that Old Sport begrudgingly posed for. Somehow, I think he knew The Mouse was waiting.

"Seriously, you guys know Mickey is inside, right?"

For me, this was the moment of truth. I could handle seeing his dinner a second time the night before, but if he cried in terror when meeting Mickey, well, it's safe to say my insides would turn to some sort of goo. 

Fear not, Uncle Deej. Mickey was clearly used to meeting little kids for the first time, and was so kind and warm to Old Sport, I couldn't help but get a little misty eyed. He gave the Mickster a high-five, didn't cry, and, perhaps most importantly, fulfilled a dream for his Disney-geek uncle. 

"Funny, I always pictured you taller."

He did so well, in fact, that the day continued on much longer that we'd expected.

We rode the train...

"So you're telling me this train goes in a circle? What's the point of that?"

And watched trees fall down a hill of water??

"If you put me on your shoulders I'll be tall enough Aunt MJ."

We played in the 100 Acre Wood.

"No way Uncle Deej, I've got one word for you: germs."

And hung out with a few Presidents. 

"Politics is boring."

We even rode his Uncle's favorite ride....

"This is your favorite ride? The PeopleMover? Seriously, these buttons are more interesting."

Put simply, Old Sport's first trip to Disney was about as close to perfect as any of us could have imagined...vomit and all. Although I'm sure years from now he'll have no recollection of his first encounter with the Mickster, my hope is that somewhere tucked in his subconscious are happy memories from this day. 

Two families....One awesome day.

It was one that none of us will ever forget, and there's no doubt it was just the first of many.

For you, AJ

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