A few months ago, I met a very special five year-old girl and had the honor of asking her a very important question: what’s your wish?
I’ll never forget the moment I heard her little voice whisper her dream–I didn’t think it could get any better (read all about it here).
I was wrong.
What happened next was honestly beyond my expectations. Just thinking back to it, happy tears instantly swell in my eyes.
I’m a planner by nature–I like to have all the details figured out ahead of time…agenda finalized…no surprises for me, thank you. But here’s the thing, I could NOT have planned for the magic that happened one night…all to celebrate this little girl and her one wish.
For privacy reasons, I’ll simply call her “L”. She suffers from a genetic heart disorder and since she was a baby, she’s been under careful care.
Like most kids, she’s fascinated with the movie Frozen and more than anything else, she wished to meet Anna and Elsa. Luckily for her, the team at Make-A-Wish has some close connection to these two royals, and granted L’s wish. My job as her wish granter was to work with my partner, Debbie, to throw her a bash to celebrate and explain all the details.
The second I found out that L’s wish was granted, I was eager to get to work.
First item of business: secure a location.
L’s mom mentioned that the family loved going to JD Legend’s, a huge entertainment complex that has a bowling alley, volleyball courts, arcades, and according to L–the best pizza in town. I scheduled a time to meet with the owner, Charlie–I told him about L, her condition, and how she loves coming to JD Legends. Would he mind if we hosted her wish party there?
“I’d be honored.”
Charlie was genuinely touched to be able to play a part at making this little girl’s wish come true. Not only did JD Legends let us host her party at their facility, Charlie and his entire staff went out of their way to give L and her family the “royal” treatment. It never fails to surprise me how incredibly generous, kind, and compassionate people are–and by the end of this story, I think you’ll agree with me that Charlie and the entire team at JD Legends are all of these things.
Next, I talked with a local Dayton bakery, Frosted, that agreed to make special Frozen inspired cupcakes just for L. Let me tell you, not only did they look beautiful, but they were a huge hit at the party. I know where I’ll be ordering my next cake from!
Debbie and I had tons of princess and Disney gifts to surprise L, along with a huge balloon bouquet.
We thought we had everything planned…little did we know that the night was going to be filled with surprises and moments that had even grown men in tears.
The moment we were waiting for finally arrived–L and her family walked into JD Legends right on time and were wide-eyed with excitement the moment they saw us.
Before long, the room was filled with people–L’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, great-grandparents…even her cardiologist came to help her celebrate. Looking around the room, all I saw was love.
To kick-off the fun, I decked out L with a tiara and princess jewelry–she was officially the princess of the party.
And then this happened…
After she opened her presents from me and Debbie, her mom and dad explained that she had one more gift to open–a special one from them. For weeks L’s mom and dad had been busy trying to find an Elsa costume for her to wear to Disney. Now, in case you’re not aware, this dress is a hot commodity and one that is nearly impossible to find. But at the last minute, they got one!
As she started unwrapping the box, her eyes started getting bigger…she was smiling ear to ear. She instantly knew what it was.
But that wasn’t even the biggest surprise! As she started to pull the dress out of the box, something else happened…or rather, someone else showed up.
This wasn’t part of my plan…it was a surprise to me too, but L’s cousin made special arrangements for a friend to dress up as Elsa and come to the party as a surprise.
L looked up, and couldn’t believe her eyes; she instantly ran over and gave “Elsa” a big hug. Her dad and he helped her slip on her Elsa dress and just like that, L became a princess.
And here’s where everyone started to tear up…
The moment L started putting on her costume, Charlie had a surprise of his own. Again, as a surprise to even me, the room was suddenly filled with a very familiar sound…lyrics that everyone knew by heart. At the absolute PERFECT moment, Charlie filled the entire complex with the song “Let it Go”.
Elsa and L danced together in their princess gowns while the crowd of loved-ones watched. The absolute joy on her face…watching her twirl…hearing the song…it was a lot to take in.
I went to the back of the room and found Charlie–I wanted to thank him again for helping to give L this special moment. “I don’t know how you guys do this…I had to step away.” He wasn’t alone, I could feel the happy tears building in my eyes. It. was. awesome.
And the magic didn’t stop there.
Debbie and I took the floor and I started talking to L. “Do you remember when you first met us? We talked to you about your wish…do you remember what you told us you wanted?” She smiled and told the crowd that she wished to meet Anna and Elsa.
I kept reminding myself to keep it together…not to cry, but I’ll be honest, there were so many emotions when I was able to look at this little girl and finally say, “L, your wish has been granted!”
Debbie and I walked the family through all the details–not only would they get passes to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World, but they would get the star treatment–a limo will pick them up and drive them to and from the airports, all expenses covered. And of course, the best part of all…L has a special invitation to meet the two most important people when she’s there…Anna and Elsa.
L’s mom started to cry. And that was pretty much the end for me. So many happy tears, so many hugs of gratitude. It felt like we were in a real-life fairytale.
“Let it go.” I’ve probably heard these three words sung a million times over the past few months, but tonight they had a different meaning to me. In fact, the night was filled with so much love and magic, I know I won’t be able to ever “let it go”.
A few notes:
- I like doing business with good people–so I think it’s important to give special thanks to the two businesses that truly made this party special. JD Legends in Franklin, OH…if you’re looking for a place to host a party, enjoy some bowling or volleyball, or just have a fun night out, I’d highly recommend you check out this place. Not only do they have tons of things to do and the “best pizza in town,” but the staff is incredibly friendly. And for readers near Oakwood, OH, if you need a bakery, let me recommend Frosted. I could still smell the cupcakes in my car the next day…they were THAT good!
- This was the first wish I was able to grant. If you’re looking for a way to give back, to bring magic to kids and their families who desperately need it, think about volunteering with Make-A-Wish or supporting their cause.
- Respecting the family’s privacy is a top concern for me; however, L’s parents gave me permission to share the pictures from the party.
Bon voyage to L and her family! I know they will have an amazing time–it’s something they truly deserve. After years of worrying about L, for a week the family will be able to “let it go” and just relax, watching L’s dream come true! And to me, that’s the best “happily ever after”.