We’re all getting really excited for our Make-A-Wish trip to Disney in a couple of weeks. Alastair’s been hitting the Insider’s Guide and I’ve been accessing long-lost memories of going to Disney as a kid (Loving The Pirates of the Caribbean ride! Being bored in The Hall of Presidents!), and starting to compile a packing list. (God, I hate packing.)
But here’s the thing: I can’t help feeling a little guilty about this “prize” we’ve “won” because of Clio’s illness. I mean, it’s awesome and generous and we’re so amazingly grateful to the Make-a-Wish folks and everyone who donates to them for making this trip possible, and making it so wonderful (we get taken to the airport in a limo! A limo!!)
Fun, special stuff like this — and like many of the other wonderful experiences we’ve had in the past year and a half, like batting at Fenway park and getting free tickets to shows — has really been a morale lifter for us. I mean, hell yeah. Our kid has cancer for God’d sakes
It is beyond fantastic to have things to look forward to in the midst of this crappy little boat voyage. It’s like being able to stop at little tropical islands full of butterflies and crystal clear lagoons and pina coladas and happy steel drum music for a few days before getting back in the little boat, having to eat hardtack and stale water and not enough vitamin C (scurvy alert!), navigating a choppy sea full of sharks and shrieking eels.
I’ll stop with the maritime metaphor now.
My point is, simply, this stuff is awesome. This trip is going to be magical. (There! I said it! Me, the Disney skeptic!) And we should enjoy it. Maybe we even “deserve” it, as people like to say.
But here’s the thing: If we really wanted to go to Disney on our own, sans Make-a-Wish, we could. I mean, it’s not the sort of thing we would normally spend our money on — we’ve never taken a big trip as a family, and weren’t planning to in the near future — and it would be extravagant given our income. But we could tap our savings and do it.
A whole lot of people can’t say that. A whole lot of kids will never get to go to Disney World. I mean specifically kids living in poverty, or close to it. Yeah, sure, most of them won’t have life-threatening illnesses either. But their lives are arguably much harder than ours, and will be for a long time. What about our neighbors’ daughter? What about the kids from the projects who go to Elsa and Clio’s school? What about homeless kids living in shelters?
I think I also have some kind of weird guilt about the fact that we have the “best” kind of childhood cancer. Statistically speaking, it’s overwhelmingly likely that after Clio is done with treatment, that’s going to be it. This is all going to be in the rear-view mirror. So do we “deserve” this trip as much as the family whose child has an inoperable brain tumor? And, cancer aside, how about the family whose child has severe disabilities that are never, ever going to go away? Or that will shorten his or her lifespan, guaranteed? Doesn’t that family “deserve” a trip like we’re about to take?
As my ever-wise husband said, all we can do is pay it forward. So in honor of this gift we’ve been given, I want to find a way to do just that. (Ideas?)
And in the meantime, I know we’re going to have a really wonderful time. Thank you so much, Make-a-Wish, for this gift, and for the important work you do.
We got a kitten!
After losing JoJo in a bizarre sequence of events, we decided to find ourselves another cat, stat. A friend pointed us to a friend of hers who shelters cats, and who recently took in a mama cat who gave birth to kittens. We took one of them home a week ago — a sweet little orange tabby who’s just shy of 12 weeks old. Playful, soft, cuddly — all your classic kitten characteristics.
His given name was Peeta (as in the Hunger Games character), but the new name we gave him was the source of some strife in our household. Alastair explained it best, in a recent Facebook status:
“Catgate is over! After three days of cat shutdown, an agreement was finally reached today between the “Otis” faction of the Moock House and the radical, holdout “Peeta” faction.
“Potus” and “O’Peeta” each had their backers but, ultimately, consensus built around “Opie.” After a House viewing of The Andy Griffith Show theme song before school this morning, a final vote was cast at 8:15am and “Opie” squeaked its way to victory.
Members of the Moock House say, “I hope Congress takes nothing away from this – because, in that case, one party is just plain wrong.”
(Sorry for the politics, folks. I try hard to refrain here, but sometimes I just can’t.)
Opie was actually the brilliant suggestion of our (Republican!) cat sitter. (Thank you, Kerry!) And it totally works.
And I am totally in love with the little guy. I think in some weird way he’s satisfying my occasional little should-we-have-another-baby-before-it’s-too-late? pangs. Our furry little baby boy.
Meanwhile, poor JoJo still comes to visit sometimes, mewing at our back door and skulking around in our yard. But sadly we can’t let him in. And he’s clearly pissed at us for replacing him. He keeps taking swipes at the sliding door when poor Opie is sitting there on the other side watching him. I sympathize. It’s like we replaced the middle-aged, attractive and loving wife with a 25-year-old hottie.
Hey JoJo, want to go to Disney World? It’s on us. A consolation prize for the crappy little cat voyage you’re on. There’s this giant mouse there you can chase the crap out of. Enjoy.