Disney on Ice

Cora was not impressed with Disney on Ice.

She had witnessed Mommy and Daddy buying the tickets, the night before the show, after Annie was fast asleep. They spent too long on the computer, agonizing over which seats to choose. Cora became irritable with them. She yelled at them until they had to stop and pay attention to her.

The following day, she was even less interested. She refused to get excited in the car. Mommy and Daddy promised Annie they were all going somewhere exciting. Cora did not care that they were going somewhere excited. She did not want to go anywhere. She let them all know, loudly, that she was not interested in being in her car seat. No one seemed to care, which she resented. She wept for a short time, and then, just to reinforce exactly how uninterested she was, she fell asleep in the car. As she drifted off, she half-listened to her sister, who, for reasons that were never made clear, was singing ominously (to the tune of “Happy Birthday”), “Happy last day to you… Happy last day to you…” as the family drove into the city of Christchurch.

Cora, like her sister, was dressed in a beautiful dress, but Cora could take it or leave it. Cora liked the way her sister’s purple sequins sparkled, and she sometimes tried to grab them, but the sequins on her own dress did nothing for her. She had cried when her Mommy had put the dress on her (in spite of her big sister’s approval), and then she had forgotten she was wearing it.

Walking across the parking lot was a little more interesting. There were lots of cars to look at. And she was being held, which was better than being in her carseat.

At the other end of the parking lot was a big building, and inside the building there were many little girls and their parents. Cora liked looking at the little girls in their brightly-colored dresses. Unlike her big sister, she did not point at the girls and shout out their identities, but she found it all very interesting all the same, albeit a little overwhelming.

She was happy when they all went up a staircase and then sat down. As Annie and Mommy identified the girls sitting in the rows in front of them – an Elsa, two Annas, and a Rapunzel – Cora was able to reach over and grab her sister’s sequins again, because Annie was too busy staring around to pay any attention to Cora. Cora looked around for a few minutes, too, but didn’t see all that much to get excited about.

When the show started, Cora spent some time watching her big sister, who was staring open-mouthed at the ice rink. Cora glanced at it too, but it was all a bit much. Loud music, darkness with flashing lights, people dancing around – she didn’t know what the big deal was. They were too far away from the dancing people anyway.

Cora put up with it all for the first half of the show. She wiggled, and bounced, and nursed a little, then looked around, nursed a little, looked around some more, nursed a little, looked around, and then turned back to nurse some more but found that her mother, exasperated, had decided not to let her fool around any more.

Cora felt that the first half of the show was long enough. The show didn’t need a second half. She had heard her sister asking “When is it going to be Frozen?” repeatedly throughout the first half, and she had seen all the Elsas and Annas, but she had not put two and two together yet. She did not realize the magnitude of the passion for Frozen, and she did not predict that there would be a very long loooong Frozen routine. Cora can take or leave Frozen. It is ok but she feels the music is overplayed, at least in her own household.

She did, however, sense the rising excitement in the audience as Frozen was introduced, and as the first few songs were played. She started to feel irritable. She was sick of being in this stupid chair, sitting in the dark with no toys, listening to these songs she had heard a hundred times at home while her sister danced around with a blanket around her shoulders. She gave a few grouchy whimpers. She was on her daddy’s lap at this point, because Annie was on Mommy’s lap. Daddy let her stand up and look around. Cora looked around and saw everyone staring at the twirling people far away. She noted that no one was paying any attention to her. She gave a few more irritated yelps without any more reaction. She could sense the growing excitement. She felt more restless and she let her daddy know.

Down below, there was just one lady, wrapped in a cloak, standing on the edge of the ice. There were pictures of snow on the TV screen behind the lady. The music was low and the tension was almost palpable. Cora started to thrash.

The lady threw off her cloak and was now sparkly and green. Cora arched her back and gave an angry squawk. Daddy tried to hold onto her. Annie and Mommy were staring at the lady. Cora threw herself one way, and then another. Daddy struggled to hold onto her. The music swelled, and Cora started to yowl. The lady twirled below and hundreds of girls felt their hearts lift, felt their dreams coming true, felt this was the best moment of their lives – but Cora was not one of them. Her daddy, unable to hold her any longer, finally put her on the ground. She held onto his hands and looked between the seats, where she could just see the TV screen with the snowflakes.

This was a big improvement. She could be her own lady, down on the ground, but still see the screen, which was the best part. She bounced up and down happily, and then started to sing. She did not bother with words, and she didn’t bother with the tune, she just sang. And as the song swelled more and more, her voice swelled as well. The lights, the people, the excitement – Cora was overwhelmed, and she bounced and belted out her tuneless, wordless song as loud as her vocal cords were capable of. Daddy tried to shush her, and tried to move her so her mouth was not so close to the ears of the people in the row in front of them. Cora would not be shushed.

Daddy picked her up and tried to bounce her on his leg, trying to move her away from the people in the row in front of them. Cora, who felt intoxicated, resented this. She started to scream, and went back to thrashing like a fish. She arched her back, and threw her small weight back and forth, side to side, until her father had to put her back on the floor.

Cora and Daddy spent the rest of the song in this manner, going back and forth from Daddy’s lap to the floor, from shrieking and writhing one minute, to bouncing and vocalizing loudly into the ears of the people in the next row of seats. Her big sister did not notice any of this.

After Frozen was finally over, it was time for Annie’s second-favorite movie, Moana, which Cora preferred overall. The first song was boring, and the second song was tedious to Cora – it reminded her of her sister’s favorite song in Frozen, and was also overplayed in her house. Annie was singing along in her seat as the Moana-skater danced around, and Cora noted this without interest. By now Cora had switched to Mommy’s lap, as Daddy was feeling tired. Cora spent the song standing in Mommy’s lap, wiggling and investigating the seat next to her. Luckily no one was sitting there. The back of the seat was plastic, and blue, and had a golden oval with a number on it. She grabbed the seat back, pulled on it, and then hit it. She leaned in to study it, ignoring the music altogether. She barely noticed when the song ended and the next song began.

And then… and then… it happened. Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson was singing. Cora hadn’t paid much attention when he first started to sing. But the music grew louder, and the beat was fast and infectious, and he started to sing “What can I say… except… you’re welcome!” And Cora felt her heart move within her tiny chest. This was it!

A smile spread slowly across her little face. Her attention focused on the music. She started to bounce. She bounced hard, and fast, and exactly in rhythm with the song. By now she was grinning from ear to ear. This was the best part of the show! It was wonderful! The music pulsed all around her and through her; she could feel it deep down inside her body. She bounced and bounced. After a while she began to feel a little tired and paused bouncing for a second, but the beat was irresistible; she had to start bouncing again.

All good things come to an end, and this song was no different. The music faded, and Cora finally stopped bouncing, exhausted but happy.

There were a few more songs after that, which Cora ignored. The memory of that one, wonderful song helped her through the rest of the show – along with the second-best part of the show, which was the back of the seat next to her. She ignored the princesses amassing on the stage below for the final dance number, and ran her fingers over the golden numbered plaque. It was smooth. She scratched it, but her fingernails just slid over it. She grabbed the back of the seat again and tried to rock it back and forth, but it didn’t move much. She clung to the back of that seat. Mommy tried to pull her off but she held on very tightly, until Mommy gave up trying. She gave a big smile to the woman sitting behind her and cooed a greeting. Below, legions of princesses skated around and somehow avoided running into each other, and then skated off the stage, but Cora did not so much as glance at them. Her song was over.

1 thought on “Disney on Ice”

  1. Christine Soutter

    Mary Beth, so delightful to read your stories! You and Peter have taken on a special year that seems rewarding but oh! so challenging! and yet the words and pictures convey a centeredness and balance that I find extraordinary. And your girls — wonderful! I especially love these last two posts. Both girls come into sharp focus (along with the love and effort you two put into raising them), and the result is sheer magic.
    Best of everything to all 4 of you.
    your aunt Chris

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