Tuesday, January 8, 2008
When Ashley was 9 years old, she was granted a wish by the Make A Wish Foundation. Make A Wish, a national organization with local chapters that has, according to their website, “given hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions since 1980. From [their] humble beginnings with one boy’s wish to be a police officer, [they’ve] evolved into an organization that grants a child’s wish in the United States and its territories every 40 minutes. In the fiscal year 2007, [they] granted the heartfelt wishes of 13,006 children, [their] most ever in a single year”. Ashley’s wish was to meet Mickey Mouse. So off to Disney World in Orlando, Florida we went.
Every detail, and I really mean EVERY DETAIL, was taken care of by the Make A Wish organization. My family had never been on a vacation, so this was a dream for all of us. Ashley had her first airplane ride, and along with that, she rode first class. We stayed at a wonderful resort in the Orlando area called Give Kids The World, also a wish supporting organization. Our family was provided a two bedroom bungalow, fully stocked with snacks and drinks, and much to Ashley’s delight, it also had a Jacuzzi tub. The resort provided all meals for the families and even had an ice cream parlor that was open 24 hours a day. We had banana splits for breakfast one morning – just because we could. There were pools, and game rooms, and libraries, and train stations, and even a carousel. The resort in itself was the best vacation imaginable. But, our family was also provided with tickets to Disney World, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, and Sea World. Our days were spent exploring all the wonderful theme parks, and we would return home each evening to find a special gift for Ashley. Once it was a Minnie Mouse doll. Another time it was an exquisite painting provided by Disney. Other gifts included videos and DVDs and special candy treats. To say this was the vacation dream of a lifetime seems almost an understatement. I would, however, just add one small facet to the Make A Wish program.
I think we parents of children with disabilities need our very own Make A Wish program. Perhaps we could call it Make A Parent’s Wish Come True. These wishes don’t need to be on the same grand scale that the children’s wishes are, because as most of us parents already know, even tiny little treats in our difficult days can make us very, very happy. I decided to poll a few parents to see what their wishes might be.
Lynnette wants to swim in a giant margarita-filled glass. Angela would like to be able to go shopping one afternoon without any children tagging along. Melissa would like to be able to buy an article of clothing that needed to be dry-cleaned. Robert would like to be able to eat a meal without having to wipe someone else’s mouth, and I would love to be able to soak in the bathtub for more than 5 minutes one day. See – not big wishes, just the little things that would make for a very special day for a parent whose life is normally consumed with loving and caring for a child or children with disabilities.
What do you think? What wish would you like granted?