We went tonight to the Rivers of Light show at Animal Kingdom for the first time since being gifted season passes. We had attempted to go one other time, but decided to leave early as a natural consequence of some non-cooperation from one of our little loves.
After a little pep talk about what happened last time, we made our way there — ready to sit down after So Much Walking. We were there about 20 minutes early, so especially after the entertainment of eating popcorn was gone, the anticipation started to build and The Question started being asked: “WHEN is it going to start?!”
It was asked several times, let’s just say.
Finally, the moment had come for the show to start. The lights in the amphitheater went out, the floating flower displays started turning colors, epic Disney music started playing, and massive streams of water were shot into the air, onto which movie scenes were projected. It was delightful. I don’t know why my expectations weren’t that high for that show, but it far exceeded them.
Throughout the show at various points, laughter exuded from my oldest daughter in particular. Anyone who knows my daughter probably knows this about her: she has a truly fantastic laugh. It comes easy yet explosive. Giddy and almost guttural. A few times, as light reflected off the water to create ethereal scenes all over the little lake, she exclaimed, “Wow, water!” It was amazing to see what water and light could create together.
At the end of the show, the woman in front of us turned around and said, “I’m not sure who it was making the sounds, but whoever it was was expressing the feelings of my heart while watching the show — it was pure joy.”
I’d thought that, too, during the show when laughter and exclamations burst forth and I’d look over to see the wonder on both of their faces. It’s a gift that children have to so fully express joy, delight, and wonder. They have no concept of making a scene or dampening their feelings down because others can see or hear. This goes for joy and for other emotions (like impatience or frustration).
I wonder if sometimes as we learn to ‘not make scenes’ of anger, sadness, or hurt, we learn to also ‘not make scenes’ of joy, delight, or wonder. Obviously I believe in self-control and being considerate, but it made me wonder — listening to her fantastic laughter which delighted my heart and a total stranger’s — if I continue to work with her on not pitching fits (inappropriately expressing anger), will she naturally learn to express joy with more measure? Or learn to restrain empathy? I kind-of hope not. It’s a good reminder of the goal: to express our feelings in appropriate ways. They really need to be expressed. Not just for her own emotional health, but also as a gift to others — to share experiences of wonder, joy, grief, or righteous anger.
I hope she’ll continue to express indignation for injustice, concern and empathy for the hurting and absolute awe over light dancing on the water.