{A Dream Come True}

This is one of those stories {as cliche as it sounds} where you just don’t know where to start. Do I go all the way back to the beginning? Back to a tiny 2 y/o boy with his whole life ahead of him. A sweet boy who is sicker than anyone knows. Back to those first few days? A whirlwind of hospital and doctors and IVs and needles after needles? It was 5 years ago, but it is all still so fresh and clear in my mind. Every single moment of those first few days.

I guess you never forget the moment your life changes forever.

Our oldest son, Tucker, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just a month after his 2nd birthday. I’ll admit that, even though I have a strong health care background, I was pretty ignorant on T1D. I had no idea how serious and scary and fragile lfe is with this disease. I had no idea how much work it would take just to keep my son alive. Everyday.

Those first few days I wondered how I was ever going to fully understand. How was I ever going to learn everything I needed to know.

5 years later and it hasn’t gotten easier. Life is still scary. It’s still hard work. It’s still needles upon needles and sleepness nights. It’s still having to explain my son anywhere he goes. It’s still fighting stereotypes and misunderstandings. It’s still fighting for his life. It’s still fighting for a cure.

But, it’s still life. He’s still just a boy. Just a little boy. From that very first day in the hospital I promised myself I would not let this define him. I would not let this be his label. His life will be about so much more that having T1D. And so, you pick yourself up everyday and choose to focus on the positive, that, although there’s still no cure, there’s hope.

He’s my hero. To see him persevere. To see him own his life. I am so very proud of him. He works hard everyday to understand and to help manage.

This spring one of Tucker’s baseball coaches told us about The Dream Factory of Kansas City. They are a non-profit who create incredible experiences for kiddos with chronic or critical illnesses. She encouraged us to contact them.

I thought about it for awhile. I thought about of all the kids out there, is he truly deserving of such a great and generous gift. We fight so hard to make sure his life looks and feels as “normal” as possible, but the truth is, his life isn’t guaranteed. It’s a reality that’s taken me a long time to accept. This disease takes people, takes kiddos, everyday. It becomes such a part of our life that I sometimes forget the huge weight he carries on tiny shoulders. So, yes, he deserves this. He deserves the world.

We sat down with Tucker to discuss what his dream would be. He could have anything. Go on a vacation. Go to Disney World. Anything. All he wanted was to play for the Kansas City Royals. It’s his life goal. His dream was to stay right here at home and meet his heros.

Well, last week, his dream came true. He got the Royal treatment {literally}.

Our day started by checking into the Marriott downtown KC. Shortly after, they sent a big limo bus complete with disco party lights to pick us up and take us to Kauffman Stadium.

It was completely empty and very surreal to be there by ourselves. The first thing Tucker got to do was head to the team store and pick out anything he wanted! A total Royal shopping spree!! He got a few little things, but the one item he really wanted was an Eric Hosmer jersey and they made one up just for him!

We then headed down into the lower level of the stadium and peeked our heads into the Royals clubhouse before heading into the media room. There to greet us at the door was Joel Goldberg. {Now, if you’re not a Royals fan, you may not recognize some of these names I’ll throw at you, but trust me, they’re a big deal}. In that room we also bumped into Rex Hudler and Ryan Lefebvre. We had a seat and a few miuntes later Steve Physioc came and sat down beside us. Now, if you don’t know, Steve is a broadcaster who is known for keeping amazing game stats. He brought his score book with him to show Tucker. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. He was his own symbolic language he uses to keep record of everything happening in the game. Of course, my little mathmatician was just eating it up! He caught on quickly and was able to read back the special language to Phys. I think Steve was impressed and he decided to tear out one of the game sheets and give it to Tucker to keep. That’s going in a frame on the wall!

We were told that Ned Yost would be in the room soon to do his pre-game press conference. We were going to be able to sit in during the live show, but we had to be on our best behavior and absolutely silent {and no asking questions}. Of course, on the day where we’re trying to take a break and forget about T1D for a bit, just before Ned arrived Tucker’s blood sugar started crashing. Nothing like having to do a blood sugar check right there in the Royals’ media room. So, if you were watching and heard that crunching noise in the backgound, that was just me opening some crackers trying to treat that low blood sugar!

Ned was kind enough to come stop by and say hello and ask if Tucker could pitch because he might need some help in the game!

After the press conference, we got to head out to the field. Not just to take a peek, but to walk through the tunnel his heros walk through. Right out into the Royals’ dugout. To sit on the benches his heros sit on. To lean on the rail just like they do during the games. Oh, and did I mention he got to MEET many of those heros, too! They were all so kind and took time to talk to him and sign things for him.

KMBC 9 News was there to document the day. This was a very proud mommy moment. To watch Tucker be interviewed and to be able to completely explain T1D and what life is like on a daily basis absolutely blew me away. I may have cried while watching him. You can see a clip of what was aired on the news here.

And then came the moment. The moment he dreamed of. In walked his ultimate hero. Eric Hosmer!! He ran and grabbed his new jersey and made sure to get the perfect signature right on the #35. Again, I may have cried a little bit in this moment. Seeing my hero meet his hero. It was perfect.

Soon it was close to game time and all the players had to report back to the clubhouse. We headed back to the media room to prepare for the pre-game ceremonies. Our family got to go out on the field as they announced Tucker and The Dream Factory. We smiled and waved while our big faces were on the jumbotron.  They pulled Tucker aside to do another interview. This time in front of the entire stadium. On the microphone for everyone to hear. He froze a bit. He answered every question with “yes.” It was perfectly adorable!

We then headed to our seats to enjoy the game {with one more appearance on the jumbotron during the 6th inning}. It was a long magical day and was so nice to ride in the limo back to our hotel and snuggle in for the night.

You’d think the story ends there, but it doesn’t! One of the community relations staff for the Royals noticed Tucker’s Star Wars belt he wears his insulin pump on. She invitied us to come back to the game on Sunday for Star Wars Day at the K!! More dreams were about to come true, but I’ll save that part of the story for another day. Stay tuned…

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