When asked to write about Spring Break, a plethora of memories flooded my thoughts. Vacations, relaxation, sleeping in…you know, all of the things that go the way of fantasies once you have kids. I will admit, I panicked. Did people really want to hear this story again? Would anyone care to read about the trials of raising a chronically sick child and how it impacts our lives? Would I come across as just trying to gain sympathy? Would I sound like a broken toy who wails the same interruptions over and over again while stuffed underneath a heap of teddy bears and a sea of blocks, way down at the bottom of my kids’ toy box, clinging to its last bit of energizer juice?
A year later, I have come to realize that my son’s Make-A-Wish trip will end up being one of the most memorable times in our lives. I tried for weeks to think of another Spring Break experience to share. WEEKS! Yet, every memory paled in comparison. And not just because we were treated like royalty at every turn. Not even because we often stood in line to purchase food and were routinely greeted with a smile and a warm greeting that Mickey had already purchased our meal and there was no need to pay. No, this trip was truly a “spring” in the right direction.
A year ago, my family of 5 boarded a plane on Allegiant Airlines with our sights set on the Magic Kingdom. My family of 5, which consists of my husband, Joseph, me, our oldest, Makenzie, our youngest, Anais, and the “Wish Kid,” Cassius, were unaware of the magic that truly awaited us once we arrived in Orlando, Florida.
We had prepped and planned. I polled my family and friends and, yes, even groups of random strangers in cyber-space. I read and digested every article, comment, and review I could manage to squeeze in between speech therapy, port flushes, diaper changes, and hospital stays. Joseph downloaded every app he could find the space for on his phone and my phone. We spoke to our wish granters and other families who had made the journey before us. We assumed we were ready; we assumed wrong.
Was it magical? Was it everything that everyone tells you it would be? Was it a wish come true?
Well, of course, it was all of these things, yet so much more than I never knew to expect. It was a moment in time that gave us such a hope when we felt that we had none to hold on to. Our trip was 7 days of peace, joy, happiness, smiles, giggles, and a reminder that it is never as dark as we may think that it is. We ran through the rain near Cinderella’s Castle; was mesmerized by Tinkerbell flying over our heads on the Tomorrowland Terrace; heard our once non-verbal son speak his first sentence as he introduced himself to every character from Mickey to Goofy to Princess Tiana; and watched our kids’ faces light up with smiles and wonder as we crammed in every magical ride and show.
When I speak of the fact that my son was granted a Wish Trip by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee, people often look at me with sadness in their eyes. Yes, wish trips are granted for children battling life-long, devastating illnesses. Their struggles are often amplified by their youth. Their pain is truly unimaginable. However, I speak of my son’s Make-A-Wish trip in terms of what it brought to my family and the tremendous change it introduced in all of us when we returned home.
Wishes inspire living. Wishes have a healing effect that no review, article, or book could have prepared me for. The power of a wish is everlasting, offering moments, experiences, and memories that soothe the soul, distract from the pain, and encourage a continued fight when Hope seems lost.
Wishes are truly powerful.
About the Author
Vernita Finch is a mother of 3 and wife to Joseph. All 5 live, work, and love in Tennessee.