We were fortunate enough to turn a business trip to Orlando into a little family trip to Universal Studios for a couple of days. Mini Me was home for Spring Break, and with the Middle Child in Egypt, that meant we only had the boys.
My favorite part of Universal is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We have been there before and fell in love. The wand-pairing ceremony at Ollivanders – Makers of FineWands is one of the most spectacular parts. On our first trip, none of our children were chosen to be paired with a wand, but the ceremony itself was grand and we bought them all interactive wands that could be played with all over the park. This time, I wanted The Baby to be picked. On Friday, we were lucky enough to walk right in and we did not have to wait. I was standing on a completely different side of the small room than The Baby and his father and brother. When the wand keeper came down the stairs, he went straight to The Baby….who was basically the only kid in there. He asked The Baby if he was there to choose his wand. The Baby said…..NO.
I was crushed. The wind was completely let out of my sails. I stood there, fighting tears, for the rest of the ceremony. I felt like a complete and utter failure of a mother. I am the reason The Baby is like this….I am quirky and awkward and shy….and I have passed that on to him (I was beating myself up worse than anyone else could have at that point). I could not wait to get the hell out of that room. When we were finally ushered into the wand store, I was mad (at myself) and was not really in the mood for wand shopping. It turned out that The Baby was now a little disappointed that he had not said YES…. We left Ollivanders and went on to do something else, to try to lighten the mood…with me crying behind my sunglasses. We decided we would go back to Ollivanders the next day and I tried to let it go.
On Saturday, we got up early, with every intention of being at the park when it opened. Of course that did not happen, and we arrived about 40 minutes later than planned. With it being Saturday, and the first day of Florida’s Spring Break, the park was packed. I decided I could just hang up any idea of The Baby being chosen at Ollivanders.
We had purchased Express Passes, thank God. I swear, I will never go there without one. It is totally worth the extra $900 it cost for the 4 of us to be able to fly through the Express lines! We ate lunch at The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley, and after going in a few of the shops, we made our way to Ollivanders. Again. Surprisingly, there was no line. We were going to be first inside. I was so very hopeful. Right at the last minute, a family with a VIP tour guide walked in. We were ushered into the little room, and the wand keeper came down, and instantly chose the VIP family’s daughter. I thought I might cry again.
The wand pairing ceremony is quite amazing. They usher a small group of people into a back room that is filled with boxes of wands from ceiling to floor. There is a desk and a dim light. The wand keeper makes a grand entrance and walks down a flight of stairs, then picks the person (usually a child, unless the only child in the room happens to tell him NO) who will be paired with a wand. The person tries out 3 wands. The first two wands do not seem to “fit” the person, as they make a light explode or something similar. The 3rd wand makes the lights come on brightly for a moment, and music from Harry Potter plays…and you just know that this is the perfect wand…The wand keeper tells the person what is special about the wand, while the rest of the group stands in awe. When it is over, the group is ushered into the store to pick out their own wands, which run about $65 (if you buy the interactive one’s).
Fighting tears again, I was trying to decide if we should just go right back around and try again, when I looked up and realized that the only people in the room happened to be our family. The wand keeper asked his assistant to shut the door and he called Mini Me and The Baby over to his desk. He had recognized that they must be brothers….he pulled out two very special wands-both contain a heart string from the same dragon….The wand keeper talked to them about how this meant they couldn’t duel each other…or something like that…by this point I was seriously fighting tears and my heart was about to explode. It could not have turned out any better! I was so glad that The Baby had said NO on Friday! I was so glad that he had not been the chosen one in the group we had just been in! How very special for brothers to have their own, private wand pairing ceremony?! When the wand keeper handed the boys the wands, the lights flashed, and the Harry Potter music played…. I wiped away a tear of joy. The wand keeper had certainly succeeded in pulling my heart strings. All was right in the world again…