Take Ryan, for instance, whose biggest challenge has been DiGeorge syndrome, a condition that has stunted his development physically and intellectually, caused several hospital visits, two heart surgeries and even some worrisome pulmonary scarring that miraculously disappeared. I fell in love with the 10-year-old’s wish to have his very own, personal ball pit – you know, the large, padded pool filled with a million plastic colored balls – right in his home.
It reminded me of something from my childhood … my older brother racing to the ball pit at the McDonalds playground while I screamed after him. Except, I would scream because I was afraid he would get swallowed and I would have to eventually jump in and save him.
It took me years to realize that my brother enjoyed challenging me like this, but it took me only a few mere seconds to understand the purpose of Ryan’s wish – that was that his wish is really quite comforting.
The ball pit was a must-have for Ryan ever since his first encounter with one during occupational therapy. It helped his inner balance issues, and gave him a break from a lifetime of medical turmoil.
There’s something fun and heart-warming about watching Ryan dive into the ball pool and hearing him and his younger sister giggle and scream. Ryan makes his way through the colored balls using his arms and legs and looks up and smiles at you – but as you can see in his face – the weight of the balls surrounding Ryan give him a sense of relaxation.
Ryan’s wish is the perfect example of how even the tiniest change can make life feel a little more balanced. When I come across a wish like this I might smile, tilt my head, nod a bit and say, “Wow, you go, kid.”