After the Disney Magic
We have been home for a week now, from our most amazing experience at Disney World with Make-A-Wish and we still miss it just as much as the day we left. Every part of Evie’s wish being granted was filled with so much thought and care by so many amazing volunteers and staff. The fact that these people spend their week nights and weekends getting to know a child in the most special way is something I am sure our little family will never forget. Evie’s wish coordinators truly saw her joy for life, her sweetness and otherworldly beautiful soul from the very beginning, and they planned her trip accordingly.
From the moment we left our driveway to the moment we came home Ev, and the rest of us, were loved on, cherished, made to feel special and served upon in the most heartfelt ways. Someone was always willing to help us in every capacity so that Stephen and I did not have to worry about a single thing. For once we were able to detach, not just in the sense that we just put our phones away, but in a way where we were able to enjoy a vacation with our girl where we could almost forget the fact that she has special challenges that severly inhibit her everyday life. Evie fit perfectly.
When we first got to Give Kids the World Village (“The Village”) we were greeted by everyone with “Welcome Home”. Of course at this I would just politely smile and say thank you, but it truly became that for us, a home. Our girl was welcomed just as she was with no expectation of how she “should” be-everyone’s grace and patience with her was astounding. The way The Village was designed removed limitations that she faced on a daily basis, for a full week she was given an environment that was made for her, that she could navigate, for the most part, entirely on her own. There were no steps that Ev would stop at the top of and wait for us to help her down, the fact that she cannot use her hands was of no consequence because with the push of a button, from her little brother, every door would be opened to her. She had access to a playground where she could use every piece of equipment with ease. Once she had her floats on she could walk right over to the pool, wade in and swim to her hearts content. Evie was given a home that allowed her to feel independence for once-and we were all a blubbery mess because of it.
We would have been perfectly content simply staying at The Village for the week, but Make-A-Wish went above and way beyond anything we could have imagined, with an experience at Disney World. We knew Ev would like Disney, lots of sensory input, bright colors, music, lots to see, but our girl LOVED it. Every morning we would get up and she would be ready to go as soon as we told her we were going to another special park for the day. She would laugh and smile the whole drive there and would not stop beaming as we made our trek through the gates. Our first day was probably my favorite, and I like to think hers, and we spent it at Magic Kingdom. We took our time and had absolutely no agenda, our cues for different activities, rest times, and meals, and treats came from her and things were seamless. The hospitality of the cast members (characters included) at Disney truly blew us away-the way they would get down on her level and talk to her, made my heart burst. They cared about her, took time with her, and let her relish in each new moment. Our first day set the tone for the rest of our trip and we wouldn’t change a thing.
Each day was filled with new experiences that brought a new side of Ev to life, we found out that she loves all of the frozen treats, no matter what it is, she likes to be right in the action of any and every dance party, will go up to anyone on her level who is eating and “ask” for a bite of their food, and is quite the thrill seeker. She sought out the fun in every situation and won so many hearts along the way. I could go on and on for days about how much this trip meant for our family, but I won’t. I will leave you with this-going on this trip did not erase any of the challenges that our sweet girl rises to on a daily basis, it did not take away the meltdowns and frustration of not being able to communicate with those around her, but what it did do was give her back a part of her childhood, that we thought she would never be able to experience to the fullest. It gave Stephen and I the confidence to move forward in our journey and to take experiences that may seem improbable or impossible for our Evie and turn them into a reality-to the best of our ability.
We are forever grateful for organizations like Make-A-Wish and Give Kids the World that take a little girl’s dream and turn it into real life, if only just for a week.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.