I was there as he stumbled and bumbled about the room with a sly grin and an air of confidence usually reserved for the most triumphant of goals reached. He mumbled his words, or maybe he never intended for anyone to hear them, mostly noises, indistinguishable jibber jabber made only more hectic with the randomness of high pitch squeals and clicking. I’ve seen the effects, I witnessed the decline, the eighteen hour decline of someone that gave it everything they had, I was there; it was a marathon day, an event that won’t soon be forgotten.
The day started as planned and it was early, six in the morning, packed up, loaded, out the door, and on the road. It was cold that morning, freezing actually, one of a three or four day cold snap that affected areas as far south as the Miami-Dade County. It was that scrape the ice off the windshield kind of cold day; which is pretty much Florida’s version of shoveling snow to leave your house. Rylan looked at the ice covering the windshield and said “What’s that?”, “Ice” I replied. He stared head half cocked at the thin sheet of ice covering the glass windshield, pondering something that seemed relatively basic to myself. We wanted to take Rylan out and see the sights, he hasn’t had the chance to experience much in his life, and he was super excited about the whole day. The cold seemed refreshing and wasn’t going to get in the way of our good time. The possibilities and the opportunities of the day danced through my head, as I’m sure it did for the rest of the group. By the time we arrived the cold had retreated, giving way to what turned out to be one of the most comfortable and pleasant Florida spring like days of the year.
Once arriving and confirming our accommodations we were left only to decide how to begin our day. Rylan without hesitation “giraffe”, repeatedly, “giraffe, giraffe; it seems our decision had been picked. After a quick bite of local cuisine, we hurried off to our safari to attempt spotting the ever illusive giraffe. Many minutes later, Rylan yells with jubilation, “giraffe!”, he was right we had pulled up on a herd of giraffe. Before pulling away Rylan said “Thank you, giraffe.”, he really did appreciate them coming out for his viewing.
One of the top reasons we made this trip was Rylan’s need to see an experimental car. He waited so patiently for the demonstration to begin,by the time we were close he was trembling with excitement. As the car was revealed Rylan released a satisfying “yes”; the wait had been worth it for him and he seemed content with the world.
As the sun began to set the streets revealed a glimmer of vibrant hues in shades of blues, reds, and greens. As the night grew darker a more pronounced neon and lighted technicolor glow was beginning to light the streets and buildings. Add this change in lighting to the dizzying effect of being surrounded by a density of other people only comparable to that of a major city, and even the most aware may seem misplaced. We made our way through the crowds of people leaving them behind for a pleasant stroll through some of the shops just off the Main St. Deciding the aquarium was to be our next stop, we boarded a train that whisked us away to our destination.
The view from the train gives different perspective on the area and I believe this reason is why Rylan prefers this mode of transportation to any other. We catch a glimpse of the aquarium as the train pulls into the station. After departing the train we make our way to the aquarium with great haste as closing time was rapidly approaching. Rylan enjoyed the fish at the aquarium but showed monkey like behavior over the turtles, fascinated by their hard exterior shell. On our way back to our room we passed a little shop selling bonsai trees, Rylan seem to make a special connection with these miniature trees, I believe mostly due to the size.
As we entered into the lobby he pushed through people as if he owned it and had been here before; we would never see these people again and he seemed to know that. The intoxicating chatter of whistles, chimes, bells, alarms, and general fun being had proved too much to resist and time was spent whacking, tossing and spinning our way to an ever later evening in the arcade. As the fun dissipated and lights began to dim, we decided that maybe now was the time to head to our room and see what kind of trouble we could get into up there.
Passing statues of known heros along the path, we slowly, but steadily, make our way back to the room. Ten at night, no signs of slowdown, the day hasn’t yet caught up to the little man. The first signs appear. As Rylan rests for a second to remove his shoes, the act of sitting, became enough for him to nod off ever so slightly, only to be startled back to reality in a manner typically reserved for those falling off a cliff. Awake, but now with the knowledge that if he stops moving his day will end and sleep will win, Rylan has a new determination and a boldness about him as he shoots up with an increased sense of energy. He jumped first to check that his belongings are in order. He arranged things in his appropriate way, and ensured himself there was a correct inventory of the items he had collected throughout the day. He completed his important task with a jubilant, yet weary, “OK, finished!”
He was finished. The day had been long, and exhaustion was creeping closer, Rylan then looked up at the clock and defiantly said the word NO. The clock gave an answer and Rylan refused to accept the time-teller’s answer as his fate; with a sense of purpose and near fear he began to run. Running back and forth from the front door to the bathroom, back and forth from the bathroom to the front door, he repeated “mouse” in various tones and voices, “mouse”. I still hear his words to this day, “mouse”. Distraction was ever present with each passing hour, but none more disorienting than the final, where it seemed as though the entire day’s events were being played out in his head in fast forward. Giraffe, big boom, all the lights, sounds, and smells of the day, all the events attended and people encountered condensed into a fraction of that time. Rylan was experiencing overload and possibly to the point of near melt down, soon it would happen, he was near his time for victory. As the clock struck twelve Rylan let out an exacerbated “yeah” stopped running, laid down in bed and fell right to sleep.
As the digital numbers flipped to signal midnight and the beginning of a new day my son seemed aware he had accomplished a feat some two year olds never even attempt; he had outlasted the day, and not just any day; a long day at Disney.