Looking For A Handout
Three times this week, during the quiet hours of the evening, while I have been ensconced in what ever brilliant piece of literature I have been reading (read: Cheesy romance novel describing the penis as a throbbing steel rod of manhood and the vagina as the soft folds of a feminine flower...) the telephone has rang. While this in itself is not unusual, the callers have all been three different telemarketers haranguing me to buy their credit cards, their long distance plans or their vacuums.
Three different times this week, I have been forced to tear myself from said brilliant literature to politely decline their offers. Last week I was inundated twice for different charities. It seems every time the phone rings these days, someone is looking to take my husband's hard earned money off my hands.
Well, now it is my turn to flip the tables. I am sitting behind your computer screen with my hand held out, batting my eyelashes, trying to relieve you of some of your dough. Because after all, I know you are all hiding money trees out in your backyard and you just aren't sharing.
Today is the Global Make A Wish Day for the Make a Wish Foundation. For 27 years this foundation has been granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to make their dreams come true.
I have had several opportunities to meet children who have been granted their wishes. A couple little friends of mine wanted nothing more than to go to Disneyland, while another wished for a therapy pool to relax his muscles and relieve the pain in his back and legs. One very special little girl that I had the pleasure of meeting and befriending wanted nothing more than to ride in a fire truck and play firefighter in her home town, some three thousand miles away from where her family currently resided. She missed her old friends and family. Her wish was granted and three weeks later she passed away a happy little girl.
Most of us don't think about the children out in the world fighting their battles with disease, congenital deformities and onset of sudden illness. Occasionally, we are reminded by media, or when we see a child who is obviously ill or handicapped in the supermarket, that there are hundreds of children in our communities who fight a war they won't win, one we will never really understand.
We duly donate a dollar with a purchase at Walmart or McDonalds, drop our spare change in the box next to the register and sometimes we even make monthly donations on our credit cards if we are fortunate enough to have the cash to spare. But do you ever think about the child that would benefit from your generosity?
I never did. I just did it out of obligation, some small guilt that niggled at the back of my conscience, thankful that it wasn't one of my children that needed such services.
Until one day it was.
But in the course of his life I met many children who had such health problems it staggered my soul. Some children never leave the hospital in the course of their short lives, others like my Bug, could go home only to return days or weeks later. It is as though there is an invisible chain tethering them to the damn hospital.
As a parent it is easy enough to forget that your child is a child when you are struggling with their health. Worrying about whether they have the opportunity to play in the sand on a sunny day is not high on the priority list when you have medications, therapies and appointments just to keep that child alive, with you one more day. The stress of having a medically challenged child in a home takes it's toll on every one, not just child.
But a sick child is still a child, as my Bug's laughter would often remind me. And every child deserves a dream. Sadly, the severely ill child often does not have the simple benefit of health to be able to chase their dreams like most children. They simply lack the time.
Bug was granted a wish. I was honored and yet dismayed, for I realized that this meant he really was fragile. It was a harsh reminder of just how fleeting his life might be. But it was an amazing gift that would not only benefit my sick child, but my two small others, so often overlooked because of their baby brother.
Boo and I decided to make the cliched trip to Disneyland. Shalebug was especially fascinated with people stuffed inside mascot costumes and he loved the thrill of the more gentle rides. We would take Fric and Frac and create the memories a child could dine on for an eternity. It would have benefited the whole family.
Sadly, Bug's time ran out, and his wish was not granted.
But I still sit here, smiling pretty, asking you to think of all the children out there who may never have an opportunity to embarrass themselves on national television to chase their dreams of stardom. I'm asking you to think of the kids who will never get to run the diamond of a baseball field, or sit in the bleachers next to their parents who are chugging back the beer.
I want to remind you there is so much out there most of us take for granted on a daily basis; normal everyday things like going on a class field-trip to the fire-hall to sit in the fire truck and then eat icecream with twenty other kids with sticky fingers and silly grins.
The people with the Make a Wish Foundation haven't forgotten.
Please consider supporting them. I'll even jump through hoops of fire, naked, if that's what it takes to make you donate.
Now I'm standing up and brushing the dirt off my knees. This begging stuff is hard on a girl's back.
Update: The sands in the hour glass have slipped through the glass and it is no longer April 29. While I'm still sitting here with my palm out, looking to grab your cash, I understand a lot of people don't have the means to support a charity of any type while struggling to make the bills. I do ask, however, that you think of the kiddies out there who aren't as fortunate and as healthy as most of ours. Sometimes the simple kindness of a smiling stranger is all it takes to make their dream come true.
Now I'm coming down from my soap box (albeit with absolutely no grace or dignity left intact) and I'll be back tomorrow with the funny. But I wanted to thank all of you who took the time to remember my Bug, and donated. It's not too late. I, er, they will take your money anytime!! Thank you so much for allowing me to hit you over the head with my personal two by four. Your generosity and support is amazing.