Expectations and reality

Making the best of an imperfect situation.

Make A Wish has been on my mind recently. I’ve been working on a timeline feature for the website, now fully realized, starting with Namine’s very own Make A Wish trip. (There are other timelines planned, representing significant periods in Namine’s life, but this is the first.)

Make A Wish, as an organization, has a lofty goal: to make the wishes of children come true, children whose dreams would never otherwise become reality. But they’re not infallible. They make mistakes.

Namine’s wish was to have tea with the Disney princesses. While this was communicated from us to the Wish coordinators, it was not communicated to whomever else needed to know. As a result, we ended up going to Disney World (and several other places), but Namine was not able to have tea with anyone.

In case you’re wondering, there is quite the wait involved with scheduling a Princess Tea Party at Disney World, and by the time we discovered that Make A Wish had not set one up, it was too late (and incredibly expensive besides) to schedule an out-of-pocket one ourselves.

That might have even been for the best, as it turned out; Namine got airsick on the flight down to Florida. We didn’t want to put her through that on the trip home, so the only other option was to drive. Of course, because we flew down, we didn’t have a car.

Make A Wish had given us funds for the trip, but it wasn’t unlimited. Renting a large vehicle for a cross-country trip isn’t cheap, so we needed to know by the end of the week if Make A Wish was going to foot the bill for a rental van, or if we needed to pay for it ourselves. So right out of the gate, we didn’t go to Disney World on our first day, as we had planned. We felt it would be irresponsible of us to go, when we didn’t know how much it might (or might not) cost us to get home.

It hurts when we encounter disappointment. Like, it feels like it’s a literal hurt, especially when it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing like Namine’s Make A Wish trip. It wasn’t our trip, it was Namine’s, but of course as her parents we wanted it to be perfect. Unfortunately, it was never going to be perfect, no matter how much we planned.

After it was all said and done, though, the best thing we can take away from any experience is our memory. What did we learn?

I can’t say, in retrospect, that we didn’t have a good time. We had a great time — at Disney World, Sea World, Gatorland, and even the days we stayed at Give Kids The World Village. It was an opportunity for Namine to learn, through our example, how to act (or react) when things don’t go as planned. It was also a chance for us to show her that even the most carefully planned events can go sideways, and when they do, it’s okay. It’s okay to be disappointed, and it’s okay to readjust to make the best of the situation.

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