The sign said: do not ride if you are uncomfortable in small, dark, enclosed spaces.
The kids glanced at me. "Mom, are you gonna be OK?"
They know me. I hate elevators and airplanes. I get claustrophobic.
James took my hand, pressed it to his heart: "I think you should tell the attendant that you have claustrophobia."
I was like: "Forget that. I'm so proud of you for using a big word like attendant!"
He smiled. "Mom. Seriously."
"I'm gonna be OK," I said.
"Are you scared?" he asked.
"Yes," I said. "But I'll just close my eyes if it gets really bad."
The gates opened and we walked toward the yellow submarine. I paused at the top of the spiral staircase and looked at the attendant. I sorta did this embarrassed cough.
"Um. Hi. Uh…" I stammered. "Is there..um? Well, how long is this ride?"
"About fifteen minutes," he answered quickly. What he meant was: you're holding up the line, lady.
"Oh." What I thought was: Shoot, I can't hold my breath that long.
"Um, so," I continue."Uh. Is fresh air pumped in?"
"No," he said. "They pump in hot, stale air."
I stared. He grinned. And then I burst into hysterical laughter. Somehow, he made it all OK and I followed my family down the stairs.
As we settled into our seats, my two sons held my hand and patted me reassuringly. So, there we were in the small, dark, enclosed space of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland and it was actually, really wonderful.
(Except for that one part at the end when we had to wait inside the submarine while the other submarines GOT THE HECK OUTTA OUR WAY. Thank God for the calming distraction my iPhone).
That's when Matt reached over and kindly patted me on the shoulder.
And I was all: Look, honey! I'm using the pretty coping mechanism…er, iPhone you gave me for my birthday!
He was proud of me.
It wasn't until we were debarking that I noticed the flotation devices stacked in the corner.
I'm glad I didn't see those when I first sat down. It was hard enough overcoming my fear of small, dark, enclosed spaces. If I had to worry about drowning, too? Well, you know. A skittish mind can only handle so much.
The point is, I DID IT! I CONQUERED THE SUBMARINE RIDE AT DISNEYLAND!
(Hi, I'm Elizabeth and I get excited about small accomplishments.)
I'm proud of myself. I faced my fear and thankfully, I didn't have to face it alone.
My sons talked me through the entire thing.
Who's the parent around here, anyway?
p.s. Many thanks for all the kind birthday wishes yesterday. I felt so loved. It was a wonderful birthday!