The first time I went to Disneyland I was around 4. For some brave reason, my mom took me on the old Rockets ride, which I don't even understand today because she's afraid of heights. Somehow she missed the part about putting the smallest person in front (they must not have had that sign back then), so she put me behind her. When the ride got going, she panicked that I was going to fall to my death. So using her own mother-bear will-power, along with some centrifugal force, she pinned me to the back of the seat. After some discomfort I yelled, "Mommy, mommy, I'm a squished hot dog!" (Still no idea why I chose the hot dog metaphor.)
This line became a catch phrase for my family. (And was used in perfectly-timed moments such as when my little sister watched the vendor hot dog she was just eating get run over by a bike when she dropped it on the ground in Central Park.)
We used to tease my mom mercilessly about that rocket incident.
Well, fast forward to February, 2010. We took our own kids to Disneyland for the first time. (I hadn't been myself since my high school choir trip when I was 18 years old.) We had those magical Disney moments of riding on Dumbo's back and laughing at the campy boat drivers on the Jungle Cruise. And then for some reason, we decided to take everyone on Splash Mountain. As soon as the ride got going, I wondered what I had done! Why had I brought my babies on this wild ride?! I had the 5-year-old with me and my husband was behind me with the 3-year-old. The whole climb I kept saying to my husband, "Hold on to him. Are you holding on to him? Are you holding tightly onto him? Is he going to go flying out of the ride? Are you sure you're holding him tight?" Then we hit the big dip - the part where they snap your picture and I screamed, terrified for my babies, and I clutched my 5-year-old as tight as I could.
It wasn't until later that night I realized, I was now the one squishing the hot dogs.
When I got home, I dug out the picture of that last trip to Disneyland when I was 18, in that same place, on that same ride.
Fast forward 18 years. This is how I had changed. What motherhood had done to me.
So to my mom: I'm sorry we teased you so much about protecting me from imminent danger on a Disneyland Rocket. I totally get it now.
To all you other moms who suddenly have fear where before you had none: You are not alone.
To all of you who have also felt like squished hot-dogs in your own lives: Thank Heaven for a mother who loves you.
And to all moms everywhere, thank you, on behalf of us 'hot-dogs' and Happy Mother's Day.