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Dedicated to in memory of Christie Fox
Submitted by Debbie
"I want to go to Hawaii," Christie told the lady from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I smiled at my ten-year-old daughter's boldness, figuring her request was too extravagant. I'd always wanted a romantic get-a-way in Hawaii with my husband, but Christie's frequent doctors' visits and hospitalizations because of her AIDS waylaid romantic holidays. Regardless, four months later my husband of twenty-two years and I found ourselves boarding a plane with our exuberant daughter, bound for a week in the island paradise.
We landed in Oahu. "Aloha," said a Foundation representative and presented us with flowered leis and an itinerary. Wearing her necklace of white blossoms that complimented her tropical attire, Christie sashayed through the airport, enveloped in a halo of excitement.
Our hotel suite on the twenty-first floor delighted Christie. "Come out on the balcony, Mommy," she said. "I can see the whole ocean." Although fearful of heights, I stepped outside and embraced Christie. The spectacular view spread out like heaven before us. Christie disentangled herself from me and leaned over the railing. "Look how tiny the boats are."
"Get away from that railing," I said.
"Oh, Mommy, you worry too much."
"What a view," Ben said as he snatched Christie back from the rail. "Who's ready to see some sights?"
Christie jumped up and down. "Me! Me!"
After Christie finished her breathing treatment and medications, we drove through the city and along the coast, simply enjoying the scenery. When clouds moved in and shrouded the sea, we headed back to the hotel with our weary daughter.
The Foundation's itinerary kept us busy—a helicopter flight over the island, a submarine excursion, a glass-bottom boat ride (Christie's favorite because the captain let her pilot the boat), and snorkeling among the fishes. Despite wearing #45 sunblock during her snorkeling adventure, Christie burned and developed a fever the night of the scheduled luau. I tucked her into bed and cancelled the outing. An hour later, a Foundation representative appeared, bearing souvenirs of the luau for Christie. She smiled and thanked the man, then plopped her new hot pink ball cap on her head and snuggled against me.
By the next morning, Christie's fever was gone, but, sadly, we had to leave. On the way home, I felt such an overwhelming love for everyone at the Foundation who had orchestrated the trip, for the people of Hawaii who had welcomed us like old friends, and for my daughter who, somehow, had known that visiting Hawaii had been one of my dreams. Her wish was her gift to Ben and me. I'll always remember my week in paradise, not for romance but for a gift of love from my daughter.
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