Play....it is what I do for a living, and yet for David play this is an unknown skill. He loves puzzles, but left to his own devices, free time for David is spent cleaning something or organizing something.
This is one of the reasons that I realized about a year ago that I needed to see David have a time in his life that was just all about him. We watch Jacob play football, we watch Matthew play basketball and softball, we go to events for Jacob at school, we take Jacob to playdates and birthday parties, and for all of these things David is a happy observer, but I needed time for David to shine.
At David's last neurology appointment the Doctor and I talked about the Make a Wish Foundation and Dr Simmons told me that he had seen children approved for a Wish with a diagnosis like David's. When I contacted Make a Wish I was thrilled to learn that David qualified and we would be making David's Wish come true!
Anyone who knows David knows that his biggest wish in life is going to be centered around Mickey Mouse, so it is no surprise that his wish was a trip to meet Mickey Mouse in Disney World. On Saturday at 11:00 we were picked up in style and the boys, my mom and I headed off on a huge adventure in style!
We landed in Orlando and were immediately greeted by a volunteer from Give Kids The World, likely the most magical not for profit foundation I can imagine. Give Kids The World exists only to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village for as long as there is a need.
Give Kids The World and Make A Wish Foundation worked together to give David a week of Magic:
*Flights to Orlando for all of us
* Passes to all 4 Disney parks for the 3 boys, and my mom and I
* Passes to Universal studio for all of us
*Passes Sea World for all of us
* Passes to Legoland for all of us
* and an incredible villa surrounded by everything that makes a child's dream come true.
I thought before we left that I knew what to expect. I knew we would have passes to do everything David would want, but I had no idea that we were on our way to entering paradise. As we walked into our Villa it became apparent that we had entered a world of magic and happiness, that is focused on the needs of children. As Jacob heard that we could order pizza to be delivered to our villa at 9:30 at night, after a day at the parks, and that ice cream was available from 7 AM until 11 PM, well, basically he knew he had entered paradise!
We spent our first night just getting the lay of the land at Give Kids the World. The boys were each given a token to have a pillow made for them and they walked up to a special tree, told the tree their favorite color and a pillow popped out for them....complete magic. I still cannot figure out how Jacob got a gold pillow decorated with footballs and other sports items, while David got a yellow pillow covered in traffic signs. How did the tree know which fabric to use?????
Then David decorated his star- something that is done by every Wish child. His star now hangs in a huge gallery full of stars from all of the children who have stayed at Give Kids the World.
After decorating David's Star, it was time for us to wrap up our first night and get ready for our first day hitting the Amusement parks.....just as I thought we were heading back to the Villa, the boys stumbled upon the salon where they each got fake tattoos, and Jacob got his fingernails painted the colors of the Giants!
I could hardly believe that the magic had not yet even started, and yet I already felt like we had been given so much. So much more was to come our way. Incredible memories were made over this week- we met people who simply made us smile, we had moments that simply brought us joy, and there is so much to share......over the next few days I will try to share with you our Make a Wish Journey!