Last year, when Jess and I were at Disney World for her birthday, I hired someone to create a special event for her. The event organizer arranged for Jessica to receive a letter telling her that Princess Jasmine (her favorite character ever) had bought her some birthday presents, but that evil Jafar had spotted her, so she had hidden the gifts around the park in hopes of keeping Jafar from finding them. Jessica’s mission was to follow a series of clues to find the gifts, and outwit Jafar.
Because the organizer had to have people in the park hiding the clues and the presents, we had to finish the search within a certain period of time. About halfway through, when Jessica said she was ready for something to eat, I said we didn’t have time to stop.
“Didn’t you read Jasmine’s note? Jafar will find them if we don’t hurry!”
She gave me a look full of such scathing scorn that I am surprised I withstood the blast. “Hellooooo,” she said. “Jafar isn’t real.”
Suitably chastened, I said we would have time to get something to drink but that the event had to be done by 3 pm; we could have a snack afterwards.
I had about ten minutes of nostalgia. My darling daughter is growing up, I thought. These characters, who seemed so real to her for so long, are taking their appropriate place: products of someone’s imagination, rendered in colored ink.
Later, Jessica decided she wanted to get Tinkerbell’s autograph, so we went to the Toon Town tent where they greet visitors. As we stood in line, a cast member came out to explain to us that because the fairies were so tiny, and we were so large, as we passed through a special hallway, we would be sprinkled with pixie dust that would shrink us to about five inches tall. Then we would be the same size as the fairies.
I smiled, and turned to Jess, expecting her to see through the magic. Instead, she said anxiously, “But we’ll get back to our normal size later, won’t we?”
I assured her we would, but my assurances were not sufficient; she had to verify this with a cast member, who promised her that after we left Pixie Hollow, the magic would wear off and we would not have to worry about being stepped on by other humans.
Not until the whole experience was over and we were back among other people (and at our usual height) did Jessica heave a sigh of relief.
“Do you really think we were five inches tall?” I teased.
“Yes,” she said firmly. “Did you see the size of those ladybugs back there?”
I love how the world works for Jessica. If it is not convenient for her believe something, she doesn’t; but when she wants to, she does. A friend of mine says Jessica is the only person she knows for whom the world makes exactly the amount of sense it needs to, and I have to say, so far this seems absolutely true.