Dear Tattered Angel,
First thing this morning your mother retrieved our sleeping angel from her bed to dress and prepare you for our trip to Salt Lake City to greet some special visitors at Shriner's Hospital. Previous visits to the hospital where focused on either yet another X-ray or a surgery, allowing no time for a wishful child to ride on the variety of cars on the wooden floor or climb and explore countless playhouses covering the central play area of the children's hospital. Not today though. Today's only purpose was to fill these hours with allowing you all the time to play, pretend, and meet new friends at the hospital you could desire. No doctors or nurses would be taking vitals, providing medicine,taking x-rays, nor reviewing progress of a healing hip. The goal of this day was to just have fun in a location for you that enjoyment had denied so many times before.
As the elevator door parted, at first sight of the toys scattered about the play area, you excitedly turned toward mother and I as you have countless times before, pleading with hopeful words of request, "I play?" This time though a different response was provided, "Yes, my darling today you can play." Suddenly you giggled with a smile as you danced back a forth in my arms pivoting at your waist from side to side, as I inquired, "which car do you want to ride in?" "That one!", Pointing towards a black little-tiks truck parked in the center of the floor. Opening the small door to the truck, we cautiously twisted, adjusted, and repositioned until we found a comfortable position that allowed you to ride in the small cab of the plastic toy. Unfortunately these small toys were never designed to be driven by a little girl with both legs casted, however with many of your things such as car seats, highchairs, and clothes, determined parents with slight modification and a little luck have discovered methods that have allowed you to find use of these items once again. Once in the cab your older sister immediately climbed on the back providing an eco-friendly engine to propel the vehicle forward. The next half hour was crammed with blurs of a speeding truck as the plastic wheels whined with speed as they spun on the wooden floor. With each pass of your new automobile, the sound of your laughter could be heard as you approached, increasing in intensity, then slowly soften as your car sped off in the distance.
At last the secret visitors had arrived and readied themselves to meet the numerous children who had gathered, standing in what was the most unusual single file line I had ever observed, children in wheelchairs, others in a hospital beds and you in your casted legs. Although unique, the excitement of the moment could not be mistaken or be lost on these special children. Finally with the sound of Disney filling the air, Mickey and Minnie Mouse stepped out into a room cluttered with children waiting anxiously for their turn to stand next to Mickey, hold his hand and smile for the camera. Based on countless mornings filled with demands of Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse to be viewed on our television, I thought this moment would be the highlight of the day. I had imagined hearing the voice of my young tender daughter as she loudly proclaimed,"Mickey, daddy, Mickey", but this was not the case. Although Mickey was a welcome sight, he could not fill the void that had been left empty by so many paths that had lead through the elevator doors, pass the toy filled area into a waiting hospital crib, followed by hours or days saturated with continued responses of, "No, dear, no playing today...today you have to lie still until you feel well enough to go home."