Your childhood brings with it stories of wishes granted by genies and magical beings. Three wishes. The characters in the story always get three wishes. You dream of what yours would be should that ever happen to you.
Let me tell you the story of my three wishes: Spencer, Tyler and Lily.
Three of our children were approved for a wish. Three. All at once. That’s not really the wish anyone ever wants, right? My husband and I worried about how to tell our kids about the wish. We live in a rural area. They don’t know what Make-A-Wish is. We applied without them knowing, at the suggestion of a wonderful doctor. They do not understand that theirs is a “life-threatening” disease. Ours is not the typical story where the child is going through some tough treatment and the wish creates a glimmer of hope along the journey. No, it’s different. There is no treatment, no cure. Their lives are just not like other kids’.
The boys were first. I remember when we introduced the idea to them. It was about a week before our wish-granters were to visit, and we wanted them to have some time to think about it. Imagine being told that you can wish for ANYTHING. Anything you want. What? Why? We dreaded the explanation. I mean, you get a wish, it means you’re dying, right? That’s the stigma.
We don’t even share the name of the disease our children have with people. The reason is that it is misunderstood, and we don’t want anyone to tell them that they are going to die. We want them to go on living life in the happiest manner possible. We live by the idea that “life expectancy” means that we expect life to be happy. So it turns out that it never comes up.
The boys didn’t drag us into some life and death conversation. We explain that the wish was because they are special. And because a group of people had been told how special they are, they were going to grant this wish. That was enough. They FELT special. That, for our family, is the benefit of the wish.
Think about it. What more could you need than that? Instead of being the kid that can’t play a musical instrument, the kid that can’t keep up in gym class, the kid that can’t play football, the kid that can’t play jump rope at recess, the kid that can’t get their own lunch open…I think you get the point; Instead, someone had deemed them worthy of something so special that they couldn’t even decide what it would be for days on end!
That dreamland period may have been the best part of the wish for me. The imagination (Can I swim with whales?), the dreaming (Can I have a pet unicorn?), the tugging on the heart strings (Dad, I just wish I could build models with you every day.) I don’t know if I can explain what it’s like to see a child that has limits placed on them on a regular basis be given such free reign. Pure joy. Times three. My three wishes.