The Best Moment From Our Make-A-Wish Trip Was One I Didn’t See Coming

Many people have asked me what the best part of our Make-A-Wish vacation was. I jokingly answer that it was when Belle complimented me on how I did my daughter Namine’s hair.

Putting all jokes and kidding aside, I want to tell you of the memory I treasure most. It wasn’t at Sea World, Disney World, Gatorland or Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It was at Give Kids The World. They were showing the movie “Home” in the small movie theater they had at the resort. Namine and I were the only ones who attended.

It wasn’t the first time we saw the movie. We’d seen it in the theater back home and later rented it from Redbox. There would have been nothing special about this, either, but for Namine holding my hand throughout the movie. While special, even that is not the best part.

After the movie ended, Namine and I clapped. It’s typical for Namine to want to sit through the credits, listening to the music. She tapped me on the arm. “Daddy, let’s dance!”

The first song was energetic; Namine and I bounced and danced, leaving us both exhausted by the song’s end. Then the next song came on. It was a slow and emotional song. It’s the kind that Namine would often ask me to skip, or in this case, leave the theater because it held nothing exciting for her. Not this time.

Namine reaffirmed her grip around my neck, hugging me tighter. We eased into a slow rhythm. Holding my wonderful daughter in my arms, we danced large circles around the empty room. Whatever troubles we’d left behind in difficult months and hard years and whatever trials still lay ahead, none of that mattered. The moment was ours. It was ours forever.

The song ended, as songs do. As I put Namine down in her wheelchair, she smiled up at me. “Thank you for the dance, Daddy.”

For me, the best part of vacation was not the resort. It was not the many theme parks, exotic animals or zip-lining. No, the best part was getting to hold my daughter in my arms — just the two of us, dancing slowly and singing softly. The best part was seeing the magic in Namine’s eyes. It was not the pretend magic of theme parks, of rides and people in costumes, but the real magic of a daughter’s love.

Paul Eiche.1-001

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