Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Flash Mob (Part Two)

I wrote A Flash Mob (Part One) back in November and while I knew I'd write a Part Two, I never knew it would be this until tonight. 

On our first night in Disney World this past November, just a few hours after Brian graciously took the kids back to the hotel room to go to sleep, my family and I wandered around the resort settling ourselves into vacation mode. It was a beautiful night and this first night of vacation felt particularly special.

Earlier in the evening, we had seen a group of young men and women practicing a dance on the lawn and we stopped to watch. We figured it was some sort of dance competition and since I love myself a good dance number, I smiled through their whole routine, so jealous that I couldn't join them (they could, after all, actually dance).

Later that night, as we walked by a few of the women from the group, we stopped to ask them what they had been practicing for. We're generally not that chatty with strangers but it was, after all, Disney World. One of the women explained that a proposal was about to happen. She said that a young guy had arranged for a flash mob to propose to his girlfriend. The couple was supposed to arrive back from dinner any minute. Just as she said that, the couple came strolling down the well-landscaped path. My family and I carried on as if nothing was up but we were giddy with excitement and we're terrible actors.

The young man sat down on a bench with his soon to be fiancé and soon after, the music started. The flash mob began.

It was so cheesy and so darn cute. We immediately joked with Sean, who we figured would propose to Lauren sometime in the next year, that he was totally screwed. I mean seriously, the whole flash mob proposal thing? Pretty impressive. It brought us to tears, anyways.

On Christmas Eve, Sean proposed to Lauren in his own sweet and romantic way. Obviously it did not involve a flash mob. And she said yes.

*  *  *

A month or so ago, a friend of mine posted a quote on Facebook that stuck with me all through the holidays. It was something about how as we get older, the things we want for Christmas are things that can't be bought. Even though my reasons for loving that quote may be different than Jillian's, I couldn't agree more. Sure, I got (and gave) some pretty sweet gifts, but none of them would ever compare to something like getting an amazing sister-in-law, or having my whole family in one room on Christmas morning, or seeing my kids jump up and down screaming in delight, "Santa came! He came!" 

Disney World is a pretty magical place. I'm sure people sit in conference rooms every day cleverly creating that magic and I admit, I'm a total sucker for all of it. But the flash mob didn't come from a conference room. It was just a group of friends who were hired to dance during a marriage proposal. 

One of those friends, amazingly, also happened to be a cancer patient. She was young and bald and beautiful (and I'm not just saying that). Since a few of us were still wearing our "Beat Cancer. Go to Disney." shirts, after the dance was done, she and I got to chatting for a few minutes. She told me that she was in treatment for lymphoma. I told her how beautiful she looked, how I never wore a wig either, and how awesome it was that she was still dancing. 

*  *  *

When my whole family came over on Christmas Eve for dessert and to toast the newly engaged love birds, I was beyond giddy and grateful and just so darn happy for my little brother and his fiancé.

As we all sat around the table eating terrible versions of the delicious cookies that my grandmother used to make (I had no idea "shortening" meant butter), I also got hit hard by a few awful cancer waves. They came when I realized how badly I want to be at my brother's wedding.

Thankfully, without anyone even realizing it, and despite the inadequacies of my little peach pill, I was able to shake away the fear and pain that came with those waves. I didn't think or do anything noteworthy. I just knew that the gathering didn't need a party pooper.

Christmas (or, at least, the relatively non-religious one that me and my family celebrate) reminds me a bit of Disney World. There's definitely magic in the things we carefully plan -- the lights, the meals, the cookies, the songs, the piles of gifts. But there's way more magic in the things that can't be bought, like a young couple in love, or a family laughing at bad cookies, or a flash mob with a girl who looked a bit like I did a year ago. These are things that gave me a priceless gift this Christmas -- a clearer understanding of what it really means to "beat cancer."

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