Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Week of Happiness, Animals and Magic!

This past week has been magical for our little warrior and his family. Through the kindness of the Make A Wish foundation, Garrett took us to Disney World in Orlando, Florida last week. It was truly a magical experience, creating memories for a lifetime.

The week started only two days after Garrett’s biopsy. We were guests on an American Airlines “Wish Flight”, where dream land characters met us at the Denver airport, showered the kids with gifts and sparkly confetti. A special cart took us to the plane staging area where the kids had a special baseball themed cake for breakfast. There were probably a couple dozen folks there, all dressed up in different themes. There were balloons and gifts; the area was decorated and a big sign over the gate told the world that Garrett Ross was the honored dignitary.

From there we flew to Miami. The plane was named for Garrett (stenciled on the outside of the 737) and the kids had their own special seats in the craft, again, all decorated up. They were given candy and cake and pop and all the “bad” fun stuff. The watched movies on the flight and were catered to all the way. In Miami, we were met by many more Make A Wish folks, who picked us up in a friendly-dragon themed cart that took us to the connecting gate. There, we were astounded by a huge castle themed set up. More cake, angels, fairies and Disney characters were there. More balloons and gifts and we met several other Make A Wish families from across the country. A face painter was there and a balloon animal creator, kept the kids busy playing games and having fun until the plane took off for Orlando.

At Orlando, we were met by Disney Characters, whisked away to the Avis rental car place, where the kids received more gifts. Even mommy and daddy received a gift basket of nice adult beverages for the vacation. We drove from there to “Give Kids The World” village in Kissimmee, Florida. That place is amazing! A small, security protected village, the GKTW city is completely magical. Themed for candy land with a water park, train, fish pond, three eateries, playgrounds, carosels, talking trees and dinosaurs. Mayor Clayton, the giant friendly rabbit, had parties for the kids every night. They could have ice cream for breakfast if they wanted and pizza 24 hours a day! Only 20 minutes from several major theme parks, the GKTW village is a remarkable venue. Garrett, who is normally a little apprehensive about taking his shirt off in public because people stare at his scars, was completely at ease playing in the water with lots of other Make A Wish kids who all had scars of some kind. It was remarkable to watch.

We met a family there who have a beautiful 3 year old boy who had a liver transplant. I actually had to pray for forgiveness because of the envy I felt when I learned this incredible father was able to save his sons life by giving him part of his own liver. How I wish I could do that for Garrett. I'd give him my own heart if I could. This family blessed us so very much and we hope to stay in contact with them for many years.

The Disney Parks were everything we’d hoped for, and more. We spent 5 full days meeting so many Disney characters, getting autographs, collecting pins, seeing animals of every kind, petting dolphins, watching killer whales, taking a dozen rides on roller coasters and water rides, getting soaked and laughing non-stop. We even got picked to be in a Disney parade at Animal Kingdom, complete with costumes and a float trip!

In the evenings, we’d settle in to our very own villa where we enjoyed real modern plumbing, meaning we could take more than one shower at a time and not run out of hot water! Truly a boon for the Ross Tribe! Each day the kids would received a gift from Mayor Clayton’s helpers and (within reason) eat whatever they wanted.

There were no down sides to the trip, with the slight exception that athough Garrett and Jessi do not know about his poor PRA blood work, Kathy did and it hit her pretty hard down there one night. I comforted her the best I could and prayed with here for the fear to go away. We tried to put the unknown aside and just enjoy the week.

Now back home, we had more interaction with animals, but not quite as fun. Our first night back, Garrett’s little terrier Stella found the working end of a skunk and then ran into the house. Guess who got to deal with that ? Welcome home…ha!

Reality strikes again tomorrow as we head back to Denver for a check up and meeting with the transplant team to see what steps we now need to take. Garrett has been on such a high lately, I’m really praying that his morale will not take a big hit.
When we know more, I’ll be sure to write.

We continue to be blessed beyond belief and the kids especially received a very needed reprieve from the pain and fear, on a trip that only before we could only dream about. See, dreams to come true!

God bless and keep you all,