Thursday, September 15, 2011

Queen Robin

As I run out of hours before leaving town, I wanted to tell you all about something actually blogworthy. We've all heard of the Make-a-Wish Foundation - how they make wishes come true for terminally ill children. Let them have batting practice with Ken Griffey Jr or something. When I signed on the help with a wish last weekend, I had no idea what I was in for. The sheer scope of resources and what they can do for people is really mind blowing.
     Robin is 10. She has a brain tumor. She came to Make-A-Wish of Washington and Alaska, and told them she'd like to go to Wonderland. She wanted to play croquet with the Queen of Hearts, meet creatures real and imagined, solve riddles, and sleep where no one had ever slept before. What Make A Wish came up with was more vast, detailed, and magical than I could have imagined. It really changed my perspective to see hundreds of people working hundreds of hours not for an audience, not for ticket sales or reviews, but for the complete happiness of one single person.
    A white rabbit arrived at Robin's door with an invitation from the Queen. Told her to pack a bag. Put her, her mother, father and 14 year old brother in a vintage Bentley and took them to...Nordstrom. Nordstrom set her up with tea, cake, and a personal shopper. She tried on a dozen party dresses and chose her very favorite. Back into the Bentley, adn to the White Queen's City Palace - anyone who has seen pictures of me from Wonderland knows the Space Needle is clearly modeled after Her White Majesty. Robin, the White Rabbits and her family "fell up" the elevators to the Space Needle where all the tourists blew bubbles as the doors opened. Robin cleverly sighted The White Queen through one of the telescopes, and followed the clues to The Ruins, where the maddest of Tea Parties commenced. And we hadn't even begun yet.

After tea, Robin napped on a 40 foot catamaran to the Bloedel Reserve (holy cow, that place is magical). They had dinner with the Duchess herself (too much pepper, I hear) and then to sleep in the canopy bed they built just for her. The next day was a whirlwind for all of us. Breakfast with the Queen of Hearts  (Robin brought her the red roses she'd been given the day before. Whenever anyone gave her a gift, she passed it directly on. I got a sunflower :)) A morning of croquet with the Red and White Queens (and the Red King, thanks for joining late, Gavin!) and a team of 6 gymnast hedgehogs! They were soon frightened away by our aerialista Cheshire Cat, and Robin and Alice started an afternoon of riddles, challenges, parkour with the tweedles Dum and Dee... all the while acquiring bits of costumery in the Wonderland aesthetic. There was a picnic, a short sing along with out brilliant Mock Turtle, K Brian Neel... Robin passed the proper examinations and became Queen Robin, there was cake, and Crunch Punch and riddles and love.

     Make a Wish does things right. Nothing was overlooked and everything was done double. If you're feeling unfulfilled, like you don't make a difference, volunteer with these people. Everything they do is 80% volunteer driven. Make wishes come true.

I almost forgot my favorite part! The goodbyes were tearful! Robin was picked up in a sea plane to go home. Perhaps my favorite moment of the whole few days was the sea plane dipping it's wings over the Bluffs of Wonderland so we could all wave goodbye one more time. Robin's brother snapped this picture. We missed her so much already:)

Make wishes come true. Make something that matters for just one person, any way you can.