My mom called me today, crying, in the backyard. Our tiny horse, Skittles, was on the ground. He could no longer walk. It was something neurological as he was eating fine, but panicked as he looked at his legs that would not move. I so wished I was there. She told me the vet was on his way over.
When she called me again, I could tell by her face he was gone. He would never be able to walk again and was too old for surgery — about age 33 my mom thinks. I cried, with her and my sisters, as I stirred spiral Mac and Cheese on the stovetop.
I began looking at photos of him and wanted to share some here tonight. He was the sweetest, sturdiest little horse. He will be so very missed. Bennett loved him, too.
Five PM: Phone call with one of my best writing friends, Jacqueline. There is wonder in hearing her voice, learning how she is, sharing common mishaps, new joys, and perseverance. Conversations with friends leave a wonder filled with joy; we do not do this life alone.
Eight PM: Baby boy is asleep. Nick shows me a new breathing/meditation technique — Wim Hof Method. Nick held his breath for over 2 minutes, I held mine for 1:45. It’s surprising to remember what the body is capable of in terms of breath. During the activity I pictured myself smiling while swimming underwater in an Olympic length pool.
Nine PM: I scroll on Facebook and see the last beagle baby of my (deceased) beagle Sasha’s puppies had passed. Her name is Lexi. A family friend picked her out of the litter about fourteen or fifteen years ago. I was a sophomore in high school. I remember being so happy to see the babies healthy and here. Lexi was sisters with Maddie, the puppy we chose from the litter, who passed in winter 2018. I look at Lexi’s face and remember my girl, Sasha, who passed in 2015, two months before my wedding. And Maddie. I was reminded of the wonder of my love for animals — here and gone.
It’s Day 4 of the year and I’m already feeling the growing pains of doing something new every day. It’s hard. No wonder I have not done a project like this in ten years!
But to make this project more interesting, and to take it out of my own world, I decided I’d tell others’ experiences of wonder, too. I decided this from the beginning. I think there is wonder and enchantment that comes from listening and being present for others’ stories. Storytelling is a gift.
Well, yesterday my dad, Gavin, Nick, and Bennett came home with one of those stories.
The four of them spent the day at Legoland. Nick had a free ticket that was expiring, and the boys love it, anyhow, so they went.
However, sometimes we don’t know how big places like Legoland will be in accommodating my brother, Gavin. He needs a little extra help. But I’m proud and happy to report that the people who worked at Legoland went above and beyond for him. Because he cannot walk on his own, my dad has to carry him into each ride. I guess my dad was supposed to pick up a special ADA pass at guest services so Gavin could get to the front of each line — a nice gesture — but he didn’t know and did not have one when entering the first ride. Well, while my dad, Nick, Gavin, and Bennett were on their first ride, the ride attendant had called a supervisor and someone hand delivered my brother a pass. No one asked them, they just did that on their own.
At the end of the day, they said they were waiting in line somewhere, and wanted to ask another supervisor a special question. I guess Legoland has a really cool thing where some employees carry special gold coins on them, and you can ask them, “Have you seen Mr. Gold?” and if they have, they give you a free gold coin, which is a free ticket into the park!
Well, my dad had a good feeling about this guy carrying one, so he pushed Gavin his his wheelchair to the guy and asked him if he’d seen Mr. Gold. “Who is asking?” the supervisor responded.
“He is,” my dad said, placing his hand on my brother’s shoulder. “He would ask you if he could, but he can’t.”
The man then became extra gregarious and playful with Gavin. He engaged with Gavin while he searched in his pockets and found a Mr. Gold! Nick grabbed Gavin’s hand and extended it to be able to take the coin. My dad said the Legoland staff were all over-the-top kind to Gavin, and it was so nice to hear.
Sometimes, it’s difficult because Gavin wants to do normal fun things, but he just needs a little extra help, and I’m happy to report the two boys — Gavin and Bennett — were both able to experience the wonder of Legoland.
I’m grateful for days like this one. There is wonder in the kindness of strangers.