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When My Daughter Took a Make-A-Wish Trip to Meet Barney

About 16 months ago, I received a phone¬†call that made me smile.¬†Parenting my daughter, Jaycee, has led to many phone calls resulting¬†in emotions. These calls have given me lab reports, surgery dates, x-ray¬†findings or some issues with our medical insurance that¬†often end with me¬†sad, angry or frustrated. This phone call was different. I had happy tears.¬†With Jaycee’s extensive medical history, this was the phone call telling me¬†Jaycee was getting a wish granted from Make-A-Wish.

Our family traveled to Florida, visited the Orlando parks¬†and saw Jaycee’s ultimate wish of meeting Barney the dinosaur come true. We¬†were also able to stay at Give Kids the World Village, which is an amazing¬†resort only for children and their families on wish trips.

It was almost one year ago when my husband and I were¬†anxiously waiting for Jaycee to see Barney. Jaycee’s face lit up as she watched¬†Barney and his friends dance and sing at his theater at Universal Studios in¬†Orlando. After the show, Jaycee got to spend several minutes with her favorite¬†friend.

family posting for a photo with Barney the Dinosaur

Barney was ‚Äúresting his voice‚ÄĚ between shows so he could not¬†talk to Jaycee. It worked well since Jaycee’s speech is extremely limited. It¬†was neat to watch these two communicate and interact without words. They¬†danced, held hands and took a little walk. Jaycee was thrilled to see Barney¬†in real life. My husband and I kept watching Jaycee watch Barney. It was so¬†nice to see her so happy.

Barney was Jaycee’s highlight of the trip. But she also¬†experienced several firsts on this trip:

  • first airplane ride
  • first limousine ride
  • first time eating ice cream before lunch
  • first time playing putt-putt golf
  • first time seeing the ocean
  • first time enjoying sand on a beach

Our family had an incredible time on the wish trip. It’s been¬†almost a year later, and the wish trip still gives our family joy. Pictures¬†from that trip are scattered throughout our house. Heavy scrapbooks and a¬†digital movie of all the pictures are available for Jaycee, too. With Jaycee¬†being minimally verbal, these visuals are important to allow her a chance to¬†communicate about the trip. We want this trip to be remembered by Jaycee¬†forever.

There are days that are hard for Jaycee. Blood work¬†terrifies her, but she will most likely have it done several times this year. She¬†will have a yearly sleep study done, which will no doubt bring bad news again.¬†She will more than likely miss school and social events due to illnesses. When¬†she’s sick, the amount of medication she takes increases, and she is often stuck¬†in the house for days until her breathing has improved substantially. If¬†history repeats itself, she will find herself in a hospital bed at least a few¬†times this year. As these bad days roll in, we are all at their mercy and¬†unable to stop them.

What I can do is to help Jaycee remember the good days. I¬†can bring out a picture of Elsa and Anna from the wish trip. I can respond to¬†Jaycee when she signs, ‚ÄúElsa, Anna, me.‚ÄĚ When I show her a picture of Barney,¬†Jaycee will sign, ‚ÄúBarney, me, dance.‚Ä̬† As¬†she looks at the pictures of us on the ocean, she will sign and gesture, ‚ÄúMe¬†push momma. Momma got mad.‚ÄĚ (Yep, that happened.) Then she will smile waiting¬†for me to jokingly comment on how mad I was.

That trip gave us an amazing week of happiness and unique experiences. But, it has given us a lifetime of memories. I hope Barney knows how much that day meant to Jaycee and our family.

Follow this journey on A Special Purposed Life.