We love our life and Emma has enriched our lives to the fullest, but we face circumstances in our daily lives sometimes that make our heart sink. We are often met with uncomfortable stares from people that don't understand Emma. Often, people glare if we have to use her headphones. Sometimes, people don't understand what she says and then they get uncomfortable and end the conversation. Sometimes, people assume she's a toddler just because she has special needs and talk to her as such. Every once in awhile, if Emma's routine is disrupted or something is bothering her, we need to leave a party or church early and again, the stares. Waiting is sometimes difficult. When her legs get tired from overuse, she needs help and often asks to be picked up, even though she's ten. We always find a solution for everything and there are wonderful people who love us and help us along our way, but it begins to take a physical and emotional toll, advocating every day. One thing that gives Emma and all of us for that matter a bit of a chance to rejuvenate our fighting spirits is Disney.
Emma loves and has always loved anything Disney. We took Emma to Disney World when she was very little and continued to do that as often as we could and we soon realized that there really was something about that little fairy who spreads pixie dust wherever she goes. Disney truly goes to infinity and beyond to make the lives of those with disabilities easier and even more magical for the time that they are visiting the Mouse. Emma is able to get a special pass to help avoid the wait times that are so difficult for her. She is able to get special up close seating to see her favorite characters and shows come to life. We are able to rent a special needs stroller that Disney allows to be delivered and the retrieved from your resort and we are permitted to use this as a wheelchair for her convenience and comfort, including on the buses. Beyond this, the cast members have exemplary training in how to interact with those with special needs in addition to the ability to make them feel special and provide them with extra magical moments. Her greatest love and happiness comes to life for her and she is treated like a true princess every time we visit the happiest place on earth. Emma has been taken aside by a cast member for a private character meet and greet, Alice in Wonderland and many other characters have found Emma in the crowd to see her during the parade, a cast member once surprised her with a stuffed Mickey as a gift, Tiana called out her name from her float in the parade, and she's been brought to the center of a dance party at Hollywood Studios for hours of interaction with her favorite characters who experience joy themselves rolling out the red carpet for my little girl. This is the one place where everything is made easy for her while being surrounded by her favorite things in the world. We couldn't ask for anything else.
This is why we make the commitment to go every year. Georgi, Nick, and Zach experience that same joy because not only can their own childhood memories come to life again, but they get to watch their little sister experience the joy that they want her to experience every day of her life, the joy they fight for her to have day in and day out.
So when we return from our annual dose of pixie dust and magic, we are able to take on our battles and advocate once again. It rejuvenates our souls. It rejuvenates our spirits. We know for a fact that all we need is "faith, trust, and pixie dust..."