Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Love That Cannot Be Acted Upon

I know I shouldn't have been surprised. But I was. Shocked.

Two days ago, my daughter Hannah published an amazing piece on her blog. I never cease to marvel at the wisdom and depth of maturity of this young woman, who has yet to see her 21st birthday. In her post, she wrote about her journey toward coming to grips with the dichotomy between what the LDS Church has told her about gay relationships - that of her father and his partner in particular - and the reality that she has experienced. Her post poignantly portrays the pain she feels because of this dichotomy, a pain she did not seek but which was thrust upon her.

"Choose you this day ..." 

A Biblical phrase found in the book of Joshua that is used every day in the LDS Church and in others. Choose. Us against them. Always the dichotomy. Always the separation. And the resultant pain, which is justified because there must be a gulf.

As Hannah was preparing to marry in the fall of 2011, I was painfully making the decision to resign my membership in the LDS Church. I had recently written on my blog about what I perceived as a process of being slowly erased - as a person, as a father, as the joint creator of a family. In late August 2011, I wrote [in the third person] of my gradual rejection of the traditional Mormon concept of "family":
" ... How deep the roots [of belief] had sunk in a system that had taught him that his relationships with his children were dependent on [temple and other rituals], rather than on strong, true and authentic emotions and experiences. He pondered how he had bought into this system, which encouraged him to subject his relationship with his children to its demands, that taught him to constantly judge his children and himself, that “ritualized” his relationships with them ... 
"How different things would be, he mused, if his religion emphasized that what “sealed” him to his children were not rituals in a building, but rather feelings of love and acceptance, of validation and caring, of tenderness and devotion. But, alas, he knew that, as much as he might believe this, as much as he might wish this, there would be those among his children, not to mention his ex-wife and others, who would never look past the ritual and who would judge based on this myopic view.  This realization filled him with a certain amount of sadness, to be sure; but it also kindled within him a desire to nevertheless strive to overcome this toxic legacy and to seek to love his children all the more purely, not as means to an eternal end, but for the glorious persons whom they are and for the sheer humanity of doing so."  
In October of 2011, in a post entitled "Families Are Forever ... If Only You Weren't Gay," I wrote the following: 
"You know that patriarchal thing? Well, it seems to stop working once you come out as gay.  Somehow, someone waves a magic wand over you and you cease being a father, even though, like, you are.  You certainly cease to be a patriarch [a term drenched with meaning in the Mormon world]. You have to have a temple recommend in order to be a patriarch.  Families aren’t real unless you’re straight, do your home teaching, pay your tithing, etc. ... 
"It is not pleasant, being erased."
Nevertheless, I was shocked to read what Hannah wrote in her recent post about her temple recommend interview with her stake president (a man I knew/know) prior to her marriage. [Mormons are interviewed by both their bishops and their stake presidents (sort of equivalent to a Catholic bishop) prior to being issued a recommend to enter a temple.] "[He told me] that I could love my dad," Hannah wrote, "but not support him in who he "is" or what he's "doing." [He told] me that there is a fine line I couldn't cross. Ultimately, I could only "love" him as much as the church allowed."

I was shocked to discover that he had set limits on how much Hannah could have to do with me. I mean, I knew the Church would not support me, that I would be the bad guy, that "doctrine" would be used against me. But I never thought that local ecclesiastical leaders would use their position to destroy families, to forbid children to have anything to do with their father. I wondered how many of my other children were told similar things by their bishop and/or stake president. I wondered how much such statements had influenced what I have seen happen in my family in the past 18 months.

I admit that this revelation stung. It hurt. Even after all this time. It revealed the steel behind all the smiles and all the platitudes. Choose you this day .... 

What I found particularly egregious and even evil about the stake president's "direction" is that it was based on the following temple recommend interview question: "Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?"

My informed understanding was that this question was directed toward identifying individuals who affiliate with apostate groups, e.g., polygamists and groups that teach principles identified by the Church as "heretical." But I am learning that this has become a broadly used weapon to intimidate rank and file members to "toe the party line," and that it defines my life with Mark as a "practice."

To me, this reveals the hypocrisy of the Church's attitude and approach toward its gay members. I will never forget attending a conference around the same time as Hannah was obtaining her temple recommend, in which a panel was asked what the Mormon Church could do right now to improve the lot of its gay members. Carol Lynn Pearson, an active member of the Church and the closest thing that LDS LGBT community had to a "patron saint"for many, many years, responded, "Give families permission to love their gay family members." Bill Bradshaw, a distinguished retired BYU professor who had held many church callings but was also the father of a gay son and a long-time leader in PFLAG activities in Utah, responded, "I don't see why it's so difficult to simply act like Christians."

Yet, if Mormons have gay family members, they can risk losing their temple privileges if they "support" or "affiliate with" their loved ones (or, in Bill's words, act like Christians). "It's a fine line," the stake president had told Hannah. "There is a fine line between loving your dad because he is your dad and supporting him."

In other words, as Hannah told me today in a telephone conversation, she could love me, but not act upon that love.

*The lead photograph is of Hannah and me embracing on the day of her wedding in November 2011.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Days That I'm Not Gay

I had occasion yesterday to visit my old law firm in downtown Salt Lake City. The receptionist immediately recognized me. Well, actually, she didn't. She said as I walked up to the counter, "Man, I had to take a double take when you got off the elevator. For a minute I didn't recognize you! You've lost so much weight! Wow, you look great!" She was all smiles. I always liked her.

I realized as I was standing there as she notified the person I was there to see that it was Birthday Treat Day. One day a month, all the birthdays of firm employees are recognized on one day, and pies, cakes or other treats are brought into the lunch room for everyone in the firm. Lawyers and secretaries were descending the stairs and passing by. I saw several lawyers I knew and had formerly worked with. They were all cordial. Some of them looked at me as if to say, "Man! You don't look like the same person that used to work here." 

It was only later that I realized. I had been wearing a short-sleeve blue dress shirt (no tie) and slacks. I hadn't even thought about it. My bracelets were plainly visible. Like big time. And they are, well, kinda gay-ish. When the realization came to me, I stopped for a moment, then shrugged and continued with what I was doing.

Then came the other realization: there are actually whole days that go by when I don't even think about the fact that I'm gay. I'm just me. Going through my day. Actually, there are times when several days might pass and I don't think about the fact that I'm gay. Then I thought, "That's cool." I mean, it would never occur to the vast majority of straight people to be conscious of the fact that they're straight. That would be silly, right? 

Yet for most of the time since coming out, I have been very conscious, day by day, that I am gay. I have wondered what people would think of me, whether they could tell, etc., etc. But I'm gotten over a lot of that. Now, I'm just me. And me happens to be gay.

Loving Mark seems to me to be the most natural thing in the world. I rarely think about the fact that I'm embracing or kissing a man or holding his hand (and the times I do are usually when we're in public and we are more conscious of other people). It doesn't occur to me. Again, it seems totally natural. 

That's what so many people unfortunately don't get. They call it "unnatural," when actually, it's the most natural thing in the world - particularly when one starts with how two people feel about each other rather than starting with a whole boat load of cultural, religious and sexual baggage.

I'm grateful for the days that I don't feel "gay" because those are the days when I am truly in touch with and living who I am. 

Life is good.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Am I Metal?

Mark told me something yesterday morning that deeply disturbed me. It added to the anxiety and concern that I already felt with respect to my younger children, but to my son Levi in particular.

Background: The first night of our Disneyland trip, we stayed overnight in Las Vegas. Once we arrived at our modest hotel and unloaded, the kids got in their swim suits and jumped in the pool. Mark was out there, poolside, with his new camera, taking some great pictures of the kids. He had only recently purchased the camera, to replace one that he had lost on our Corsica trip last fall.

Later that evening, we went over to The Strip to gape at the hotels and casinos we passed on our way to dinner, somewhere. Mark pulled into the Bellagio and we ended up in their cafe for dinner. When we went to pay the bill, there was a problem with our credit card (subsequently sorted out), so Mark got up to go get a different credit card from the truck. Aaron went with him. I tried to use the debit card, but it is not the Visa kind, so is not universally accepted. I finally got up and went to an ATM, got out some cash, came back to the table and paid the bill. Then Levi, Esther and I got up to meet Mark outside.

None of us realized until the following morning that Mark's camera bag had been left at the table. Calls were made. It wasn't in lost and found. No one had turned it in. It had been stolen. More calls to security at the Bellagio and to the Las Vegas police department to file reports. Finally, a little later than planned and upset by the experience, we headed on to Disneyland.

We tried to assure the children that everything was fine. That yes, someone had stolen the bag and the camera, and yes that wasn't a nice thing to do; but life goes on. We were particularly sensitive because I had recently been discovering the extent to which the little kids have been exposed to adult problems over at the other house. Financial worries. Stress. Anxiety. Contention. They had, unbeknownst to me, been experiencing things to which no child should be exposed. Boundaries had been not only crossed, but erased.

Fast forward to last Sunday night. The kids had gone down to the local Lutheran churchyard to play, and Annie - so I found out later - had found a necklace that she brought home. Levi had been deeply concerned that Annie had stolen it and said as much to Mark. Then Levi brought up the subject of the stolen camera and how that was bad and the person(s) who stole it had done a very bad thing.

Mark again tried to ease Levi's anxieties by saying to him, "It's okay, Levi. It was just pieces of metal and glass and plastic. It's not really important."

A few moments passed. Mark went to take the garbage out, and as he passed Levi who was sitting on the front porch, he looked up at Mark and said, "Am I metal?" Mark said he had been so taken aback by Levi's comment, so deeply saddened, that all he could do at the time was say, "No, Levi, of course you're not metal." 

I did not hear about this until the following morning. When I heard this story, I too was deeply saddened, for this comment seemed to indicate a vast pool of "stuff" inside Levi, a product of his repeated and prolonged exposure to adult problems that he shouldn't have been exposed to. 

But what does it mean? "Am I metal?" Does he think he's not important? That's he's something that could be easily walked away from? That if he was lost or stolen, no one would care? What?

Whatever it means, it reveals a vast lake of sadness within Levi. It also added tremendously to my anxiety for him and, once again, deeply saddened me that things are the way they are. Divorce sucks, but things haven't needed to be the way they have been. They don't need to be the way they are. And so I am left pondering what I can and will do about it.


Note: Mark subsequently left the following comment, and I'm incorporating it here because I want to make sure people see it:
"We have a notion that our sense of self is related to thoughts, emotions, and physical things. Witness children who at a very young age will put up a huge fuss and scream when an insignificant toy or object is taken from them. It is so distressing because the object has become their sense of self which of course is not the case. We teach this to our children by example as adults.  
"Levi expected that I should have been outraged and vehemently chastise and curse the thief which I didn't do. I told Levi that it was just my camera. A piece of metal, nothing to get upset about. What saddened me when he later asked me if he was metal was his presumed thought being that he too may not valued and could as easily be thought of as insignificant and discarded or abandoned. Was this just a contemplation he had or is he truly fearful of this happening to him. We suspect the later may be the case. 
"Interestingly, what I thought I was doing was teaching him about the insignificance of material possession and it backfired. What I took away is that we as parents can and do try and posses our children and make them a part of our sense of self and in so doing continue the pattern of insecurity when there is a threat of abandonment."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Disney Dads

I took the kids home this morning. They hadn't said anything about going home on the way there, but as soon as I pulled in the driveway and started unloading their stuff, they were off like a shot into the house, where I could hear them greeting their mother. Then the front door was closed. I turned around and walked back to my car. I sat there for a few moments, and when it became evident that none of them would be coming out to tell me goodbye, I backed out of the driveway and left.

It was somewhat sad for me, but I know they were excited to see their mother. Even though we had just spent a somewhat cramped weekend at our house, and even though I was exhausted, and even though both Mark and I's nerves were somewhat frazzled, I was sad to see them go. I had relished the time together with them.

I had picked up Annie on Friday afternoon, and we were reminded over the weekend why we hadn't taken her to Disneyland with us. The following day, I took them all swimming, which they enjoyed.

Then yesterday, I took them to see Monsters University. They spent the rest of the afternoon playing, then they were able to meet some friends last night before going downstairs to watch the original Indiana Jones movie. Then, this morning, back to their mother's house in Bountiful.

We have been trying to teach them to think of our home as their home as well. They have a home in Bountiful, but they also have one here. It's natural, of course, for them to refer to the house in Bountiful as "home," given that each one of them has lived there all their lives; but I believe they understand the concept that they also have a home with Mark and me, that they have a place of refuge and protection whenever they need it, that we are there for them - now and always.

Now, on a lighter note, I want to tell the story of the souvenirs Mark got for me and him while we were doing our souvenir shopping on our last day in Disneyland. I had taken Levi down the street in "Downtown Disney" to the huge Lego store there in order for him to pick out his souvenir. Meanwhile, Mark, Esther and Aaron were in the mega-Disney store. When Levi and I rejoined them, Mark had a bag with several wrapped objects in it. He said it was my souvenir - a surprise - and I would get to see it when we got home.

So, on Friday afternoon, he took me out on the front porch and had me close my eyes. I could hear him unwrapping the objects, then he told me to open my eyes. When I looked at the table, the lead photo (above) is what I saw: two Mickey Mouses kissing each other, wobbly heads and all. I burst out laughing, reveling more in Mark's playfulness then in the actual objects. In the store, Mickey (the groom) was kissing Minnie (the bride). Mark saw how fun it would be to have two Mickeys, however, and picked two up and went to the register to pay.

The clerk, upon seeing what Mark set down on the counter, had said, "Umm, you can't buy two Mickeys. They're only sold as a set." Relating the story to me, that's when Mark said "F**k it!" in his mind and went back and got the two Minnies. "But what am I going to do with the two Minnies?" Mark asked the clerk. She smiled and said, "I bet you know some people who could use the two Minnies." He knew what she meant, but we decided to give them to Esther and Annie.

One of the things we enjoyed about our trip to Disneyland is that we were two out, gay dads with their kids. Most of the time, it seemed as natural as if we were a straight couple (which wouldn't, come to think of it, have seemed natural). There were a few looks from time to time; but none of them - at least insofar as we could see - were nasty. Rather, I imagined a lot of people thinking, "Hmmm. That doesn't seem that odd. They obviously love their kids, and they obviously love each other ... And their both so damn good-looking." What's not to like?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Disneyland Trip: Heading Home

On Friday morning, we headed for home, starting off our day with breakfast at iHop, which turned out to be a tactical error. We could have had breakfast at our hotel, but we (I) thought it would be cheaper if we went to iHop; it turned out to be twice as expensive. Sigh.

But the kids enjoyed it.

Our destination for that evening was St. George, Utah. It turned out to be one of the most magical evenings of our trip.

We pulled into our hotel around 4:15 local time, which was perfect for allowing the kids to have a swim after being cooped up in the truck all day. After a couple of hours, during which time I was able to catch up in my journal a bit after neglecting it all week, we headed across the parking lot to the Black Bear Cafe - a place that had been highly recommended in my new bible (Trip Advisor) and which was very popular among the locals, always a good sign.

This dinner turned out to be so much fun. Perhaps I should start with the wine, which Mark decided to order with dinner. The first indication we were back in Utah was when the server said, "I'll have to get my manager because I can't serve alcohol." A few minutes later, a very jolly middle-aged woman came up to the table to take our order. We weren't interested in the few varieties they sold by the glass; we wanted Pinot Grigio (a dry Italian white wine). We asked if there was a wine list. "Sure!" she replied, a big smile on her friendly face.

She shortly returned to the table with a piece of paper in a plastic sleeve, which was obviously their "wine list." Pinot Grigio was at the top of the list, available only by the bottle, so we said we'd have that. "Oh," she said, "that's a good choice because it's much cheaper than by the glass. Plus what you don't drink, you can cork and take with you!" She went on for a bit about how we could cork it, emphasizing, however, that we weren't allowed to have an open container in our car. "That's what's great about this: you can cork it!"

Okay. Yeah. We're back in Utah.

A few minutes later, the jolly manager returned with a bottle which she opened, then poured a glass which I handed to Mark, determining in the process that this wine was very obviously not chilled. "Um," I said, "this wine is not chilled?" "Oh ... no," she replied, a slightly vacant expression on her face. "Would you like it chilled?" "Yes, please." "Ok, I'll be right back," leaving me to wonder how she was going to be able to chill a bottle of wine in a couple of minutes.

When she came back with a (new) obviously chilled bottle, we politely explained (recognizing that she was no doubt a very faithful Mormon who had never had a glass of wine in her life) that white wine is always served chilled. "Yeah," Mark chimed in, mischievously, "it's like you don't drink your Bud warm." The manager laughed and said, "That's for sure!" We knew it was highly doubtful that she'd ever tasted Bud.

From that point, we proceeded to have a wonderful dinner. The kids were jolly and started telling jokes, some of which were actually quite funny. We were all laughing and having a great time, oblivious to the fact that we were a family comprised of a gay couple and their three children at a family restaurant in the heart of Saint George, not caring or even noticing (much) what a novelty we must have been to many of the other diners. It was fun.

After dinner, it was back across the parking lot to the hotel, where the kids got back in their swimsuits and Mark and I headed down with them to the pool. They were having so much fun. The full moon was brilliant against a blue sky, deepening in hue as the sun set. It was a beautiful night. A magical evening.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Disneyland: Day 4

Our last day at Disneyland was special in its on way. It created its own unique memories, as had each day before it.

Our first objective that morning was to address the next to last item on Aaron's bucket list: getting Fastpasses for The Tower of Terror in California Adventure. Those obtained, we then headed over to Disneyland for more bucket list items. (I was glad we had purchased "park hopper" tickets that allowed  us to move. Back and forth between the two parks. In order to use the Fastpass system and to move between the parks if one was too crowded for our liking.)

The next objective was a pavilion in Tomorrowland. One of the exhibits had all of the Ironman suits and allowed people to stand in front of a screen in which they saw themselves suited up as Ironman, just like Tony Stark, and then to maneuver in their suit and zap targets with a beam coming out of their wrists, just like the "real" Ironman. The line had been 45 minutes long the day before, but on Thursday morning it was only about 12 minutes.

If you look at the screen you can see what Levi looked like as Ironman. Aaron did the same thing; Mark was filming him while I was filming Levi:

From Ironman, I went to get Fastpasses for a third ride on Space Mountain, then we went over and stood in line for our third ride on Star Tours, which was Mark's favorite ride. This was an actual ride but a 3-D theatre experience. The "theatre" seated about 50 people and was supposed to simulate a space ship. The screen allowed us to participate in a rebel escape from Empire forces and was very realistic. Fortunately, they alternate the scenarios, and we were able to see a different one each time.

As we waited in line for this attraction that day, we were glad we had let the kids bring their new iTouches, primarily so that they could take their own pictures. But they also served the very useful purpose of keeping them occupied while we waited in line. At one point as we waited for Star Tours, the dad behind us tapped me on the shoulder and said, pointing at our three kids and his son, "Quick! Take a picture!" All four kids were busy playing on their respective iTouches:

After we got out of Star Tours, Mark, Esther and Aaron took off for The Tower of Terror in the other park. Levi and I headed for Frontierland, where we went to an attraction for which I had secretly been pining for the past few days: The Mark Twain paddleboat that makes a turn around a man-made lake, but which is fairly realistic. 

I had thought about what it was about this ride that had appealed to me, and I think it was nostalgia for the time I went to Walt Disney World in the summer of 1973 with Kevin, a friend of mine from high school. We had saved up our money through our jobs at the local theatre (I was 14 at the time), paid for our air fare and all our other expenses except lodging. We were picked up at the Orlando Airport by Kevin's aunt, and we stayed with them for the duration of our visit. Each morning, we took a bus to Walt Disney World, returning in the evening. The park had recently opened, and some of my favorite attractions were in Liberty Square, including the riverboat ride. So it was fun to now share that with my youngest son.

While we were gently wending our way, Mark and Esther and Aaron were having the bejesus scared out of them in The Tower of Terror. This ride is set in an old haunted hotel in Hollywood. 

People are strapped in and rise in an elevator to the 13th floor, then drop all 13 stories to the ground floor. It took Mark several hours to recover from that. Aaron loved it. Esther was scared to death. Mark texted me after they got out: "We are done. I will never be the same again. I have a headache. Esther was absolutely terrified, as was I." I was glad I didn't go.

After one last ride on Space Mountain (which I had originally enjoyed, but now finding that the ride lacked the luster had the first and second times), we all headed over to New Orleans Square for a late lunch/early dinner. It was a delightful experience - our only meal inside Disneyland. We sat outside in the shade, watching the crowds go by, watching a group of "pirate" musicians, laughing, talking. It was truly magical.

We had to wait a while for our table. The kids amused themselves by sitting on a brick wall near the Haunted Mansion,
playing with their iTouches.

At one point while we were waiting for our food, Levi decided he was cold in the shade. So, without fanfare, he simply got out of his chair and proceeded to sit on the pavement in the sun so that he could get warm. Buddha child.

I forced Aaron to smile for this picture. Isn't it beautiful?

After lunch/dinner, we bid good-bye to Disneyland and headed to Downtown Disney - a development of shops and restaurants between and off to the side of the entrance to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. It was souvenir shopping time. I'll leave to the next post to describe what Mark bought for our souvenir from this trip. I was with Levi down at the Lego store while Mark, Esther and Aaron were in the OMG This is the Biggest Disney Store Ever!! store (which is where he got our souvenir). Esther got three stuffed animals, whom she promptly dubbed, "the children."

Esther's children: Stitch, Mickey and Bolt

Aaron got various sizes of Ironman, and Levi picked out some Star Wars lego, which he immediately set to work assembling in our hotel room. As he solemnly informed Mark, "Once I start, I don't stop until I'm finished." And he did. That night. Before we went to bed. Good memories ...

Levi assembling on our bed

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Disneyland: Day 3

Yesterday was devoted in large part to Disney's California Adventure, the newer park across from Disneyland. Probably the premier ride in both parks is Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land, which is a recreation of the town of Radiator Springs in the Pixar Animated film, Cars. The Fastpasses for this attraction are usually gone by 10:00 in the morning, so I went over early while the others had breakfast, thinking I would get passes for all of us. But when I got up to the ticket vending machine, the smart ass computers knew that the others had not entered the park. So, I had to wait until they arrived to get the Fastpasses. We would have to return for the ride at 9:00 that evening.

But it was well worth it. It definitely lived up to its reputation.

Meanwhile, we took in a number of other attractions in California Adventure, including one that simulated gliding over various California landscapes, as well as several rides over by the pier.

Mark took this hilarious video clip while we were on the swings. Levi kept telling Mark to put his phone in his pocket:

Aaron and I also went on the California Screamin' Roller coaster again. I actually enjoyed it this time.

Then back to the hotel for swim time and dinner. 

Then back to Disneyland for the evening until heading back over to the other park for Radiator Springs Racers.

The Sword in the Stone next to Arthur's Carousel

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Disneyland: Day 2

Yesterday was our first full day in the park. Our morning was wonderful. Weather perfect, crowds not too bad, kids happy, dads well-medicated. We were able, through the boon of Fastpasses, to ride both the Indiana Jones ride (kids, including Mark, loved this) and Splash Mountain (see below), plus we went on the Jungle Cruise ride, explored Tarzan's Treehouse, and braved the Haunted Mansion before taking the train around the park to the entrance.

Yes, my eyes are closed in the above picture, but it wasn't due to fear. it was due to me getting fairly soaked.

After a very delicious and relaxing lunch, we headed back to the hotel where the kids swam and Mark and I took turns "centering" before we returned in the evening.

We headed back to the parks around 6:30 and decided to go into Disneyland's (comparatively) new sibling, Disney's California Adventure. Very different atmosphere. Lots of teens and adults. Levi, Aaron and I braved the huge roller coaster, which surprised me with how fast it was. Unlike traditional roller coasters that slowly climb the first big hill, this one blasted off like a rocket and never looked back.

Levi was petrified. I felt so badly for him.  But he was a trooper and eventually recovered, as did I ... eventually. Aaron claimed the ride was a piece of cake, but the following picture belies that.

Meanwhile, Esther and Mark rode a couple of gentler rides (see lead picture). There were no Faspasses left for other popular attractions, so we went back over to Disneyland. Which was much more crowded than it had been the previous night. We headed directly for Autopia in Tomorrowland, which is sort of like go carts on tracks.

Esther got to drive by herself because she was the only one tall enough. I rode with Levi while Aaron went with Mark.

After that Mark took the kids on a few gentler rides in Fantasyland while I talked on the phone with Rachel who had called me. By the time I got off it was time for fireworks which we watched from behind Cinderella's Castle. Then struggling through the massive crowds to get out of the park. Then ice cream, then bed. As Mark had commented as we walked back to the hotel, the day had seemed like two, but we survived ... And we had fun.