Wishes & Dreams

Posted on April 1, 2008

When I was 30 years old I gave birth to my youngest child, James Ryan Jones. “Jay” was quickly diagnosed with Down syndrome and soon after with congenital heart disease. My little bundle of joy was a very sick baby. His immune system just didn’t kick in and he struggled to take even a two-ounce bottle of milk from a preemie nipple.

Time after time, year after year, we were given a devastating prognosis for our young son and I often feared the worst, having already lost one child to heart disease. But the good news is that Jay wasn’t listening to the “doom and gloom” reports from doctors and went right on living his life like any other child. Oh sure, we had to make concessions and Jay was not able to do everything other kids did, but he did what he could and enjoyed life to the fullest.

This month, my son, who was never expected to live into adolescence, will celebrate his 32nd birthday. I call that a miracle! God grants them at times, you know. He also granted some wishes and dreams along the way. One took place on Jay’s 30th birthday.

Of course, we planned a huge party, being such a milestone in his life. I puzzled over a gift for this momentous occasion. What would be really special? Finally, I did the obvious—asked Jay what he wanted. The answer surprised me. Along with a new necktie for his 200 plus collection (Believe me, he is the best-dressed guy at church!), Jay wanted a limo ride to Sonic!

Jay’s favorite thing in the world is a Coke from Sonic. We go every single day to fill that order. No hamburger and fries. No ice cream. Just a medium-size Coke. And on his 30th birthday he wanted a limousine to pick him up and take him to Sonic for that Coke. He got it! As we rounded the drive through in that limo, Jay called out his order to the driver as if he had been raised in the lap of luxury.

So why am I telling you a story about a young man with Down syndrome and severe, irreparable heart disease who wanted a limo ride to Sonic for his birthday? Because Jay dared to dream during those years that doctors told us he would never live. He made wishes that might seem unusual to some but he didn’t let that bother him. He never let anyone or anything rob him of his zest for life.

Perhaps someone reading this needs to revisit some past wishes or dust off old dreams. In fact, maybe you should dare to dream new dreams. Granted, it’s dangerous. You risk looking foolish if you don’t achieve them. But, which is worse, not reaching a goal or never dreaming at all? I love the lyrics to a song in the animated movie, Cinderella. It says, “A dream is a wish your heart makes…”

Maybe you have always longed to paint, teach, write, garden, snowboard, skate or take a train ride. It’s not too late. My 91-year-old mother is still discovering wonderful things in her life. Every year she boards a plane for Montana where she spends 2-3 weeks with her brother on his horse ranch. Last year she even learned to ride a four-wheeler while she was there.

So how about it? Are you ready to make a heart-wish? Be like Jay. Wish big and never allow anyone to steal your hopes or your dreams. Who knows? We just might see you at Sonic in a limo!

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