We had lunch with Pooh today. And ROSY friends; not that kind of poo...
It's a bit of a tradition for us. When we came out here with Goldie, a little while before her 18th Birthday, we knew we'd have to get her to meet Winnie The Pooh and friends. One of her favourite stories - but only if read by Grandma - was about the big plot to unbounce Tigger. Tigger Bounced, and Goldie laughed.
But we knew Goldie wouldn't be interested in queueing in the heat for a quick cuddle; much better to fill her full of food and hope she'd be relaxed enough to enjoy meeting the Real Thing.
We went on the Winnie The Pooh ride, where she had extra opportunity to prepare by getting stuck in front of an extra bouncy Tigger for half an hour or so during essential maintenance works.
And then we went to eat. Yummy food, and lots of it, and Goldie was ready to face anything.
And then it happened, and someone managed to catch it on the camera. Goldie saw Piglet. And Piglet saw Goldie. But what makes this most favourite photo of mine so special us that it's not just Goldie smiling at Piglet. She isn't looking at him at all, actually. She's looking over at me, grabbing my shoulder, pulling me over to share her joy at seeing Piglet.
And that was a huge, huge step for Goldie. She wasn't just enjoying this, she wanted me to share her joy. Lovely.
And when everything bad happened just a few short months later, we were all even more glad that we had managed to bring Goldie over here, and that she had so clearly enjoyed it.
Fast forwards six years, and two small and not-so-small girls have enjoyed it just as much. Mog was dozing, as she often does when the rest of us eat, until she caught sight of Winnie coming towards our table. Giggles and glee and general happy happy joy joy.
Utter bliss as he came towards her - never mind the other children (and adults) at the table; Mog's face showed a dream come true. She tells me Yes she likes Winnie the Pooh, Yes she likes the others too and Yes she likes their stories. I didn't know that - I should have done; yesterday she decided she wanted Winnie the Pooh badges to decorate her new chair, and we now have all except Piglet. I spot a theme coming on; might make for some different Christmas presents this year.
I'm not sure we'll ever get back here. The girls are getting bigger; Mog's getting twistier and tLP is about to be rodded and straightened, and I don't think either of them will enjoy the flight very much.
This was supposed to be our last big holiday - uncertain health meant our travel insurance just for the week cost more than a thousand pounds. Add in flights etc., and we certainly won't be coming back any time soon.
And yet - that smile, that joy - how can we not try to make that happen again at some point?
We shall see.
A good day though; memories of Goldie linking with memories of other friends, not friends I'd associate with Disney necessarily, but on our minds today. And an army of too-soon-absent children very present with us as we watched parades and rode boats through a Small World, and wished this world a little smaller just now as the distances are definitely too far apart.