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  • Writer's pictureAshley

Old Habits Die Hard

Canada's Wonderland.

What a magical yet, fucking overwhelming and expensive place!

On Mothers Day, Kieran brought home a letter about his mom and in it he mentioned wanting to go to an amusement park with me. So of course, this meant it HAD to happen.

I have a great sense of pride in being the one who makes shit happen in this family. I plan and choose where we camp and go for fun adventures. This is not something I take lightly, so of course, when stuff doesn't go according to plan I take that shit personally.

I decided to book us in on a PA Day because the boys have already missed so much school due to sickness and hockey, thinking "oh it is probably only a few districts who have a PA Day”. Well friends....I think it was the entire fucking province of Ontario that had a PA Day and those that weren't were there on a school trip anyway!! LMAO

We got up on Friday with goals of leaving by 8am so we could get there close to opening. I got up, got ready, packed a cooler of food, tidied the house for the cleaner that was coming that day and then got the boys up to announce our surprise. EVERYTHING was perfect. It was all working out according to plan.

The drive there was hit and miss with threats of turning around and going home because the boys were picking at each other and being annoying AF but we’re all kinda used to that annoying shit aren't we?

We get there, park and go to get into line at the gate and I have NEVER seen it so packed in my entire fucking life. SO MANY PEOPLE. We waited in that line in anticipation and honestly I was trying my best to remain positive, while internally feeling like a failure because I chose the "wrong" day to go.

We chose an "easier" rollercoaster, the Backlot Stunt Coaster to start for Kieran who is now tall enough to ride most of the bigger rides. We waited in line for about 45 minutes, not too awful, but the ride was a lot faster and more intense than I had intended for Kieran's first one. Kieran latched onto my arm the whole time and looked quite terrified to be honest but assured me he was OK.

Off to the Minebuster. The line was insane. We waited for over an hour in the heat and by the time we got to the front of the line Kieran was quite nervous. Hell Jayden was nervous too. It was SO much fun being whipped around, but again, Kieran was gripping onto me for life looking quite terrified.

This is where things started to take a turn. We went and had the boys do the bumper cars and Kieran REALLY loved that. But then it was time to get Jayden onto some of the bigger coasters so I knew we would have to split up.

Kieran and I waited as Jayden and Mike did the Dragon Fyre. He had some snacks and hung out and it was great. Then we did the Spinovator as a family. But when we got onto the pirate ship, a ride Kieran did last year, he started to freak out saying "this is boring, I don't want to do it."

We knew right away his boring was fear but we were at the front of the line and in the middle of the ship so we figured he would be fine. He gripped onto me, refusing to let go and looking like we were back on a big rollercoaster but on a little pirate ship.

We went and had lunch outside and had a nice time there all together as a family. As we reentered the park Jayden wanted to do the bigger rollercoasters so I took Kieran to Snoopyland, aka “Snoop Dog Land” as he calls it, to try to get him on some rides he was comfortable with.

We stood in line for numerous rides all to have him refuse to go on them. This is where I started to go off the rails in frustration saying things like "dude we are in the BABY section. Snoopyland is for little kids. You are a big boy and you won't even do the rides you did last year."

He pointed out a VERY slow car "rollercoaster" but by this time I was so frustrated I just said "No. That is a baby ride. We aren't doing that". I could feel the anger bubbling inside of me. It began to be all about ME. I planned this fucking expensive trip ALL because HE wanted to do it and NOW he was refusing to ride rides and I wanted to lose my ever loving shit.

Kieran is not the type to do something he doesn't want to do because he is being told to do it. I admire this about him. But on this day it made me want to scream at the top of my lungs.

I got to the point where I told him "you will never come back to this park again if you don't get your shit together. NEVER EVER AGAIN.” Of course, this caused him to start crying. He starts begging me that he wants to go next year. I flat out say NO NEVER AGAIN. I’M FUCKING DONE.

He always seeks comfort from touch and holding my hand so naturally he reached out to grab my hand and I recoiled and stormed off like a toddler. You see friends at this point my sympathetic nervous system is driving me right now. I don't have access to my mid frontal cortex and I am unable to do anything with rational thought processes. My body is focused on surviving and my go to is to run for the fucking hills.

I messaged Mike and told him I can't do this anymore and that I need him to come and take Kieran off my hands.

Kieran said he would ride the Thunder Run so we started to wait in line for that as a family. Jayden didn't want to wait so he and Mike went to go on a bigger coaster. After they left, Kieran refused to ride the roller coaster after we waited for over 30 minutes.

By this time I was just a fucking asshole. Telling him things like "you ruined this day" and "it's all your fault I am upset" while he cried. UGH

The truth of the matter is this....It was NOT his fault, it was all my fault for making this day all about ME and what I wanted. I was so focused on how I wanted the trip to go. Obviously my intention was to make sure that the boys had "the best day ever" however, the problem was that I was focused on ME.

This happens so often when we are dealing with our kids doesn't it? We truly do have the intention of making it all about them and what they want and need, but along the way it becomes about what I wanted and expected from this trip.

So how does this story end?

We divided and conquered! Mike and Kieran went off to ride some of the smaller rides while Jayden and I hit up the Wilde Beast.

I used to fear rollercoasters but now I LOVE and embrace them! Reflecting back I think that my inner child was fucking pissed because I was FINALLY acting carefree and allowing myself to let loose and enjoy the rides, all to have that "taken away" by Kieran. This is what happens internally friends. Our physiology actually changes back to the age of the original trigger so no wonder I was stomping around like a 8 year old girl who didn't get her way.

Mike got Kieran back into the swing of things by riding the Spinovator and with LOTS of silliness, VOILA crisis averted.

We stayed at that park until 10pm riding ALL the rides and having the absolute time of our lives.

Kieran kept telling me "THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER" and that was my opportunity to repair our relationship. I explained why I was so upset and that all I ever wanted was for him to feel happy and to have fun.

Repairing the relationship is often the thing we forget to do or are so stubborn we don't want to do. But this is where secure attachments are created. When we can sit in our shame and guilt and be honest about how we felt and why we felt that way with our loved ones the relationship is healed and it is a learning experience.

At one point when we were all having a blast Kieran turns to me and says "see momma I figured my shit out. Does this mean I can come back next year" UGH I wanted to laugh and cry all at once friends.

Had I let the anger then the guilt and shame over take me this day would have turned out much, much differently. Had I not chosen to repair the relationship and explain to Kieran it wasn't his fault, he could conceivably grow up to be a man who believes that his actions decide if others around him are happy. Thus creating a situation where he sacrifices his own needs at every turn to make others happy.

I share this because I know you all can relate to it. As I spoke about it on social media there were a lot of people who laughed saying "who doesn't lose their shit at Wonderland?" But my reason for sharing it with so many extra details like nervous system, triggers, inner child IFS work and my emotions is because all of this matters to us understanding ourselves on a deeper level.

Also, to give yourself some damn grace when these things happen because we are only human. I felt it happening in the moment. My unraveling. My fight or flight coming in hot. I didn't do my breathing. I didn't regulate myself. I felt myself getting jacked up and let it happen, causing me to say so many things that Kieran didn't need to hear or experience.

We all lose our shit sometimes BUT the most important thing is to recognize why and repair that relationship to create a safe and secure attachment with our loved ones.

Phew that was a long one so I hope you made it to this point friends.

If so, let me know what you think in the comments! I would love to hear your experiences too!

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