|Posted by Nicole on August 25, 2011 at 10:55 PM|
He sat on the edge of his wheelchair exclaiming over and over, “Who at?” with his little index finger pointed outward toward various parts of the set.
He recognized the crystal skull, the tunnels, and a few other props lying in wait for the infamous Indiana Jones. Every few minutes he’d turn my chin toward him to get my attention, pull my face closer, and ask, just to be sure, “Indiana Jones come?” at which point our dialogue would ensue:
“Yes, honey, Indiana Jones is going to come. We just have to wait.”
“Dad, Indiana Jones come. We wait,” (as he wiggled
the fingers on his upheld hands signing ‘wait.’ )
“Two minutes.” “He have hat?”
“Yes, honey, he’ll have his hat on.”
“I need my Indiana Jones hat.”
“It’s at home in Colorado, sweetheart. But you can wear it when we get back.”
Two minutes would pass by, I’d look off in the other direction, and the entire conversation would repeat, word for word, as if it were playing on a loop.
When Indy finally came on stage by crashing through the ceiling and climbing down a long rope, I literally heard Aiden’s heart skip a beat as he emitted a high pitched squeal, quickly followed by a “Yaw!” as if he were giddying-up his horse.
“Indiana Jones! He got whip!”
The show lasted 30 minutes, every second of which Aiden was pointing, exclaiming, talking, and cheering him on. Of all of the things we figured he’d love at Disney, how had we forgotten about Indiana Jones? He only wears Andy’s rain hat (his “Indiana Jones” hat)…um… every single day. He fashions whips out of old jump ropes, vacuum cleaner hoses, and anything else he can get his hands on.
At the end of the show we made our way down the stadium from where his chair was parked at the top to see if Indy would be willing to meet Aiden. We tip-toed up, not entirely sure what protocol was for the real life movie stars and their stuntmen. Sure, Cat in the Hat and superheroes (Spiderman, Wolverine, Captain America, etc.) invited him backstage to meet them, but what would Indiana Jones do after working so hard on those ridiculously difficult stunts in the blazing 95 degree heat for a half an hour do?
When the child in front of us cleared out, Indy came right over to Aiden, got down on his haunches, and started talking to him. Something funny happens when people see that magic Make-A-Wish button: Their demeanor changes, they soften, relax, and they remember why they chose this job in the Florida humidity with whining, spoiled rotten kids dragging their parents from souvenir shop to souvenir shop.
He was met with Aiden’s recounting each of his favorite feats (most involving whips and bad guys):
“You got hat?” Aiden asks, pointing to his sweaty, smelly, dripping-wet hat.
“I do. I never lose my hat. Do you like my hat?”
“I got hat, too. My home.”
“Do you want to keep my hat, Aiden?”
With that, Indy peeled off his real life hat, shook the dust off a bit, and planted it right on top of Aiden’s head. Aiden’s shoulders rose signaling the deep breath he took in, with no words to describe what he thought at that moment. The smile spread across his face and he was spent. No more recounting the show. No more questions. Just pure astonishment that he was wearing Indiana Jones’s real, live hat.
There were a lot of moments on our trip that had me close to tears. But this one hit me hard, right in the heart. Make A Wish told us they help kids’ dreams come true – the things money can’t buy. But I didn’t completely understand what they meant until that afternoon. I still have to catch my breath just a bit when Aiden has that hat on. Which he does. Every. Single. Day.
The whip we caved in and bought him to match his real live hat? That one doesn’t quite pull at the heartstrings as much.
I can honestly say I’ve never seen Aiden as happy as that moment. He will spend 45 minutes sitting in front of my computer clicking back and forth through his Indiana Jones pictures, each one with a story. “We wait.” “Ing Gones fight bad guys.” “He use his whip.” “He give me hat.” And that is the part that makes him smile.
Thank you, Make A Wish, and thank you, Tim (Todd? Ted?) the stuntman. You made my son’s life better, and not just for one small moment.