8:00 AM: Last night was simply amazing! It was a Disney Princesses evening of thrills all around! We arrived at the RBC Center (in Raleigh about an hour away from home) at 5:15, where we met three other Make-A-Wish families who had selected Disney trips for their wishes. One of the families (The Faircloths, for those of you from around here) is from right here in Spivey's Corner, and we know them, so it was great to see familiar faces in addition to meeting new folks.
The woman who contacted us (her name is Teresa) had taken care of absolutely everything. We were taken to a special banquet room within the facility, where everything was decorated and Disney music was playing. Each girl received a tiara and a Mickey Mouse mug filled with candy (there was also a brother of one of the Wish kids--he got candy but skipped the tiara!). Everyone met Cinderella and Snow White. Each girl got to take pictures with the characters but also had the opportunity to speak with them. Sophie stood there chatting away with Cinderella about her Disney trip for quite a while. Luckily, when Sophie said to her, "I saw you there and we took pictures," Cinderella responded "I remember!" That's one smart Princess.
Then a kid-friendly (but quite good) dinner was served--kids at one table and parents at the other. After dinner, each Wish child received a bag full of Disney Princesses on Ice merchandise to share with their siblings. Sophie traded her Tinkerbell doll for someone else's Ariel and carried her around all night long (and all this morning, I might add).
The most special treat of the evening was that the kids would be riding in a boat on stage during Ariel's part of the show. The way it had been explained to the families, we had all assumed all of our children would be included, but it turned out that only the Wish kids could participate because the boat only holds 6 kids (and there were 7 girls). In each case, the sibling was the older child (and much more aware of how special the treat was), so there were some very unhappy girls (Elisabeth most of all) when everyone realized what was going to happen. Randall and I knew what to do right away, because Sophie fretted all the way to Raleigh about being in the boat. She asked all kinds of questions about what it was going to be like (I think she thought it was going to be like a scary ride), and it was clear she didn't really want to do it. So, I suggested that if Sophie sat out, the other 6 girls could all be on the boat. Teresa checked and said that would be fine. Problem solved!
Then we went to our seats for the show. We were sitting about a third of the way up and could see everything really well. Sophie sat in my lap for the first half of the show and Randall's for the second. Elisabeth abandoned us completely and sat with Amber (who is also in the third grade at her school). The show was just great! I had never been to an ice show before, and I was really impressed. When Sebastian came out, that was the cue to go down to the stage, and before we knew it, the girls were in the boat. We were so excited for Elisabeth and the other kids! I actually had tears in my eyes, watching her. Sophie was excited for Elisabeth too. We asked her if she thought she would be scared if she were down there in the boat, and she said "I'm kind of scared sitting up here!" We definitely made the right decision.
By the time the show ended and we were on our way home, it was after 9:00 (so it was after 10:00 when we finally got home). Sophie complained bitterly about not having her blankie (she complained on the way there too). The steroids are definitely affecting her mood this month.
The show was great, but I also appreciated the opportunity to talk with the other parents. I don't know the details of what brought them to Make-A-Wish, but we all spent a lot of time talking about our trips (partly because one of the families hasn't gone yet, and we were sharing tips and experiences with them). One of the dads talked about initially feeling guilty about skipping the lines with the guest pass (especially because they were there in the summer and the lines were very long). Some people in the lines give dirty looks, because they don't know the families are with Make-A-Wish. Or even if they do know, they wish they could skip the line too. But when you think about everything our families go through, we really do deserve something special just for a while. As Randall said last night, he would gladly stand at the back of all the lines if we could make Sophie not have cancer. That really puts it into perspective.