California Dreaming

The day I received the phone call informing me Jayde had been granted a wish through Make-a-Wish, I began to cry uncontrollably. No parent ever anticipates their child will become, at any point in their life, a "Make-a-Wish Kid." My tears were mingled with happiness, relief, and sadness. When you live in the medical trenches with your child, you distract yourself with dreams of beautiful, far-off places. Someplace where, for a brief moment, your child can escape the reality of their life. Though this is just a dream, that is alright because a dream is a wish your heart makes. Yesterday, we began our California Coast photography adventure, compliments of Make-a-Wish and Jayde's dream.

This is Jayde's first flight. We are all a little anxious—yet filled with excitement. As her anxiety gets the best of her, she plants her hand tightly in mine. I lean over my beautiful girl to look out the window at the clouds below us—she lets out a giggle. All is well. For me, it had been thirty years since my last trip to the West Coast. For Jayde and Chris, this was their first visit. Our first day in California was busy and quite eye-opening. Since we needed to leave the house at 3:30 am, I did not go to bed Saturday night. By the time we arrived in LA, I was sleep-deprived and exhausted, but I did not want to miss a moment of Jayde's adventure. We began with a champagne welcome at our hotel. After settling into our room, we freshened up and headed to the Santa Monica Pier for dinner and sightseeing. This place is unreal. There is so much wealth, yet so much plight. As we drove from LAX to our Santa Monica beachfront hotel, I took in the sights. Last night, as we strolled from our hotel to the pier, I did the same. This morning, Chris walked to a little local coffee shop and brought me back the most amazing avocado toast. He told me of a boy he saw on his walk, younger than Jayde. The boy was holding blankets, a yoga mat, and a coat. The sleepy little town we reside in is like a bubble, sheltered from most of the realities of the city and the world. Drive south to Baltimore, and homelessness abounds, but the homeless people we have witnessed are not Baltimore's typical forgotten veterans or junkies. Here in California, they blend into the scenery. Even if we were not spending a week in the lap of luxury, being pampered, we know we have much to be grateful for in our lives. Proof, no matter how far you travel, some realities cannot be escaped.

Last night, upon returning to our hotel, a room service cart with all our culinary favorites was waiting in our room. While the trip here has taken a lot out of her, Jayde is enjoying being spoiled and is looking forward to her Wish this afternoon. Until tomorrow, we are off to do some more California dreaming.

A treat for the wish Mom. Celebrating my birthday in style with the most decadent and delicious chocolate peanut butter cake. 


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