Thursday, December 4, 2008

When You Wish Upon a Star. . .

Guess where we're going next week?

I've been dying to tell you this for ages, but as of today, I have the information and itinerary, and it's official: We're off to New York City next week for Finn's Make A Wish trip! ACK! I'm not sure who is more excited--Finn or me?

So here's the backstory on how Finn came to choose NYC for his wish trip. . .

During the steroid pulse of Finn's chemo (5 days every four weeks), he would become so incredibly irritable, his legs would ache, he would drink alarming amounts of fluids, and eat processed foods with wild abandon. It sucked. Probably more for him than for me, I'd wager. During those 5 days each month, he'd like on the couch, eating and drinking. . .and watching movies (come to think of it, there are 5 days each month I'd like to spend doing the very same).

Anyway, much to my dismay, he typically wanted to watch the same movie over and over and over again until I wanted to gouge my eyes out with a sharp stick just so I wouldn't have to hear the same dialogue over and over and over. . .you get the picture. But we pretty much let him watch whatever he wanted because let's face it, he felt pretty shitty. And I don't mean to be crass here, but there's just no other way to describe it.

Two years ago Finn got hooked on Home Alone. Just ask my mother. We had just moved and I recall her sitting on the couch with Finn, rubbing his legs all day, and watching Home Alone three consecutive times. Appalling to me, but then again, Grandmas are good at that sort of thing.

After Finn had memorized the lines from Home Alone, he started asking if there was a Home Alone 2. There was, but I had never seen it. I was a fan of the original, which Andrea and I went to see and laughed until our sides were sore--especially when the iron falls on Daniel Stern--and I had no intention of tainting my memories of the first movie with a sub-par sequel. But then I looked at my poor steroidal child on the couch and got the sequel from the library: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Since that fateful viewing of the movie two years ago, Finn has been determined to get to New York City. We thought it was a phase that would wear off. It didn't. At the park we played Home Alone 2. I always had to be the burglar and Finn always outsmarted me. At home he set up elaborate booby traps. I never knew when I was about to be decapitated by a strategically placed string or when I might find myself stuck in the bathroom with the door tied shut. Oh yes, he was hooked.

Last winter when we started the wish process, we told Finn there was this organization called Make A Wish and he could do anything he wanted. For awhile we wondered if he'd choose NYC, but he'd also asked if we would ever go to Disney. So we weren't really sure what's he'd come up with. We shouldn't have wondered. From the first words, "You can do anything you want to do. . ." It was New York City. Really? You don't want to do something like. . .Nope. New York City. And he has never wavered once.

Immediately we had to watch the movie again, but this time was different. I sat next to him, pen and paper in hand, and he directed me to take notes. When he saw "Kevin" do something in the movie that he himself wanted to do, he instructed me to write it down. We did this about five different times. The list was always the same:

1. Stay at the Plaza Hotel
2. Go ice skating and eat chicken soup afterwards (Kevin doesn't actually eat soup in the movie. I think Finn added this in because he loves chicken soup.)
3. Go to the Empire State Building
4. Go to the Statue of Libery
5. Ride in a limo and eat cheese pizza
6. Go to the toy store (we had to explain the the toy store in the movie was a pretend store, but there was a different toy store we could visit)
7. Go for a carriage ride in Central Park (Kevin actually hides in the back of a carriage when he's escaping from the burglars. We emphasized that burglars would not be chasing us.)

So today our itinerary arrived and may I just say that Make A Wish is just, like, WOW. I don't even know how to put into words the effort they have put into making Finn's wish a reality.

We fly from Denver on Wednesday, but we'll go to Denver Monday night because Make A Wish has asked if Finn can do a radio interview on Tuesday morning! Good grief--fortunately it's not a live interview so they can edit out any wild, random comments he might make on the air! His segment will be taped and will air on KOOL 105 some time between 6am and 10am on 12/15. Make A Wish Colorado is having a big fundraising drive that day. And, we may end up being on again that day for a post trip report--I'm not really sure. We'll see how it all pans out.

But Make A Wish is putting us up in a hotel for Monday and Tuesday night and then taking us to the airport via limo. The boys don't know about that so it will be a fun surprise.

Here's a rough outline of the trip:

-Fly to NYC
-Stay at the Plaza Hotel (yes, we're staying at the Plaza for one night!)
-We'll probably spend the rest of the day exploring around the hotel and area nearby. Personally, I don't think I'll ever want to leave the Plaza. They'll probably have to call armed guards to pull me out the next day.

-Move to a new hotel (boo hoo). I guess it's OK if the Plaza wants to actually have paying customers come in.
-Another limo will take us from the Plaza to the new hotel. The boys are going to be in for a cold, hard dose of reality when we return home and our limo transforms back into a 1999 dirt-covered VW wagon with 160,000 miles on it. Like Cinderella returning home from the ball. . .only replace the glass slipper with a snow clog and it will be a little more realistic.
-Actually, we won't go directly from the Plaza to the new hotel. We will be going to a famous pizza shop and picking up pizza that we will eat while we drive around town (does one really drive around NYC in all that traffic? Heck, who cares! We're eating PIZZA in a LIMO in NYC! I don't care if we just sit there!)
-The limo will take us to FAO Schwarz where my children, who have become small town boys, will be so overwhelmed by all that they see they will have seizures on the top floor of the store.
-Later that day it's on to the Empire State Building! I'm going to have to watch An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle this weekend.

-Now, brace yourselves everyone. If you can, tune in to the Today Show on Friday, Dec. 12. It is our intent to get our bodies down there bright and early and find a spot on the railing to hang a banner that a local sign company graciously donated to say THANK YOU to Make A Wish. I hope it works because they have made this trip possible. Good grief, someone please TiVO it for me.
-On Friday we'll also be skating at Rockefeller Center (and I guess eating soup afterwards) and enjoying the giant Christmas tree.

Our schedule is crazy full, but I also hope we can get to Macy's and see Santaland and also the decorated windows there and at other stores. I used to love looking at the decorated windows at Lazarus Downtown. Ah, those were the days.

-We're scheduled to go to the Statue of Liberty.

-Heading back to Denver

-Drive home from Denver

Wardrobe issues are causing me angst. We're going to one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and I will be wearing. . .corduroys, fleece and snow clogs. My style is distinctly, um, mountain. Make that Stay At Home Mom Mountain. I'm sure I'll fit right in.

So there you have it: Finn's wish come true!


Kristie said...

Natalie, that is freaking awesome!!!! I don't even WATCH the Today Show, but you can bet your sweet bippy I'll have it turned on that day! :)

Mountain Mama said...

Oh. Wow. Unbelievable! Pinch me Pinch me now!! What an awesome thing for Finn and the rest of you.

I will be out of town on the 12th (Orlando - in the sun! if you must know) but I will for sure Tivo it.

Have a blast! Take a ton of picures. (especially one with pizzas in your mouth)

Anonymous said...

We will be watching the Today Show here at our local bank in Denton, Texas...wave for us!

Good-Dees said...

That is just so super cool!! So derserving. Christams time in NY has to be so special! I would say-have a blast, but that's kind of a give me....so watch out for falling irons from the skyscrapers!

Mom on the Run said...

I chuckled so many times reading that post. My kids love Home Alone 2 as well. Funny film. I'm so glad Finn found something to take his mind of his treatment.

Here's hoping for a fantastic trip for all of you, especially Finn! Also, I hope your son does not decide to do a "Kevin" and get lost as you travel. Keep a tight grip on him...you know how 5-year-olds are!

We're heading to NYC the weekend before Christmas. I was thinking of taking my son and daughters to Central Park Zoo and the Intrepid, a newly restored aircraft carrier, as well as Toys R Us. Did you know that Toys R Us has a large carousel in the lobby? We tried to go on it a couple of years ago but the line was too long. Might try it again.

in a world surrounded by men said...

How fun!

I'm sure Erin will TiVo it for you.


1dreamr said...

Oh NATALIE - this is just freaking awesome and amazing all wrapped up into one. I'm so excited for FINN and for all of you. I'll be setting my DVR and you MUST try to get a tape of that radio interview for us AND take tons of pictures in the Big Apple! :-)

jean said...

What happened to the carriage ride in Central Park? It's not on your itinerary... :-) And what about Rockefeller Center? I don't think you had ice skating on your itinerary, either! You KNOW that boy isn't going to let you leave NYC until he's crossed everything off his list! I hope you have an AWESOME time - I'll be waiting to see the pictures. (maybe you could pick up another handbag on one of the side streets before you leave...?)

Beth said...

Wow! That's fabulous! What fun! Don't worry about the wardrobe. Stay comfortable and cozy--the wind on the ferry to The Statue will freeze every part of you!

Hannah and I will be in NYC at the same time. If we see you in a limo we'll wave! We're staying at my sister's 3 bedroom apartment (along with her FIVE kids) on the Upper West side. My niece is in The Nutcracker this year, and we're excited to get to see her!

Have a luscious time, and don't leave Finn Home Alone.

Robin said...

Woo hoo! That is the best trip ever! I don't think anyone from the hinterlands (that is, anywhere west of Pennsylvania) ever forgets their first trip to New York. And to "live" a favorite movie-- that's anyone's fantasy! Today show is already in my queue...

Leeann said...

You all are going to have SO MUCH FUN!!! I can't wait to hear all about it and see the pictures.


ps- How is school? Is he happier and more settled?