The importance of letting “kids be kids” is the precious souvenir that parents Denise and Kevin brought home from the Wish cruise they enjoyed with their family. “The holiday taught us that we were keeping the boys too close to home and that it was time to let them be kids.”
Denise and husband Kevin have an extraordinary reason for being such watchful parents to Cody, 10, and Zander, 4. Both boys live with an inherited heart condition called Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT). The condition results in ventricular rhythm patterns that can cause fainting and sudden death if left untreated in the first five minutes of an event. Kevin has the same health condition.
“We don’t go anywhere without our defibrillation machine,” says Denise. Yet during Cody’s wish – a Disney Cruise – mom and dad enjoyed some time alone while their sons played in onboard clubs. “It was as good for us as it was for the boys to have time away from one another. The cruise also allowed our family to slow down because we are always rushing off to doctors’ appointments for either Kevin or the boys.”
A year later, Zander saw his special wish fulfilled; he also chose a cruise but instead of Disney he opted for the Norwegian Cruise Lines with its unique cast of characters. “Both cruises were wonderful for the boys, for all of us,” says Denise. “Our family was able to gain some much-needed independence.”
Until the cruises, neither boy had been allowed to play at friends’ houses because Denise felt so fearful of a sudden tragedy for which another another family might feel responsible. “I’ve learned to trust my boys. They both tell me `I know, I know’ and I believe they do know their limitations.” Recently, Cody has been allowed to play sports after school: badminton, volleyball, curling. “He loves it but if we had not done these cruises we would never have let him go and try out for the teams.”
Says Denise: “Kevin and I have come to see that our challenges are manageable; it’s the hand that we were dealt. It is what it is.”