Make-A-Wish Denial


Family in the Tetons

  Why I told no one about our trip

My mom made me do it.  She “encouraged” me to apply to Make-A-Wish for Cee.  I resisted applying for quite awhile- – we’ve benefited from the generosity of others before on this journey of chronic illness.  It seemed greedy to hope for more, especially something frivolous like a random wish for Cee.  But on a deeper level, I fought the idea of what such a trip means.

Things are stable with Cee’s condition now, but it hasn’t always been that way, and unfortunately the odds are that they won’t always be.  Eventually my mom laid it on thick enough so I couldn’t resist applying, but I convinced myself that Cee wouldn’t qualify.  Applying would end all the nagging encouragement, and that would be that.  We didn’t tell Cee we were applying, because we didn’t want her to feel sad when we were rejected.

Except we weren’t rejected.  Cee qualified.  Cee qualified to have a wish granted by Make-A-Wish.

So a few months ago we began the process of finding Cee’s one true wish.  They sent some brainstorming worksheets and determined Cee’s one true wish was a family trip to Yellowstone National Park to see the geysers and wildlife.

And so, for six days last week our family was on a wonderful adventure.  I wanted to be able to talk about our trip ahead of time, but to do so meant embracing a reality I try my best to forget.  I told basically no one of our plans.  Now that we’re home, I’m still hesitant to discuss the good, the bad, and the hilarious of the adventure we were on.  I don’t want to admit what it means.

Between us, David and I know 2 children who were granted wishes and are still living.  One is an adult.  One is still very young.  We know of 4 MAW kids who passed away as children.  Those aren’t great odds.


The trip was magical.  We were in Yellowstone, not Disneyworld, but it was magical nonetheless.  We have never taken a family vacation until now.  At first the kids were too little to appreciate it.  Then Cee got sick, and time off work and margins in the budget both got eaten up by the disease that makes us eligible for such an experience.

I feel conflicted about our experience.  Part of me wants to tell all the everything – – – Moe’s battle with the escalator, all the bodily fluids our poor rental car saw, The Great Bathtub Incident, everything!  But most of me wants to lock all those memories up and tell no one.  To keep anyone from knowing how deeply Cee’s illness hurts all of us.  To hide how serious this fight actually is.   I’m no psychologist, but I think that’s denial.  And that’s not healthy.

So I’m going to force myself to process our adventure and write about it.  It seems fitting to start with this:

To MAW:  Thank you for being awesome.  You thought of everything and made Cee’s dreams come true.  Thank you!!!

To anyone who has ever donated to MAW:  Your generosity brings smiles, fun, and hope to kids who have mountains to climb.  To give without receiving anything in return– that’s love.  Thank you for loving my family and countless other families.

To other parents:  Don’t let fears like mine get in the way of a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your child who has gone through so much.

Our children are only ours for a brief time, and we can all use the reminder to treat every day as a gift and appreciate the little moments.   We don’t know.  No one does.  Might as well do what we can to make our today a little brighter.

Stay tuned.  I’ll start working on writing down the highlights of our trip.  Spoiler alert: several highlights involve poo.  Because life.


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  1. // Reply

    I’m so glad you guys had a good trip, but gosh what a heartbreaking reason to be able to take such an awesome vacation 🙁 When I was a kid we used to go Christmas caroling as a family every year and donate the money to charity, and the Make-a-Wish foundation was always one of our favorites.

    1. // Reply

      Thanks, Rosie. How lovely that your family cultivated generosity when you were young. 🙂

  2. // Reply

    Wow, what a stunning backdrop for a family photo!

    1. // Reply

      It was stunning! I can’t believe we were actually there!

  3. // Reply

    I’m so glad that you got such a great opportunity to spend time with your family, but I’m so sorry for your worries. There are only about 600 weekends before they’re teenagers, you have to make the most of them all.

    1. // Reply

      Ahh! You’re right! Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

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