This evening we spent awhile going through the stack of postcards we’ve received this last week. They’ve come from around the globe, and each has such sweet messages of support and encouragement and inspiration. (Many say they heard about us through PostCrossing.com so we’ll be checking out that site for sure!)
One card really stuck with me – it’s from Sheri in Idaho and it said:
“Good luck with your 1st bucket list and make a 2nd bucket list with the same sense of urgency to work on your entire life.”
Sheri’s suggestion has me pondering. Ben’s wish list does feel time sensitive because they are vision related, and we know we’re losing more sight as he grows. There’s a finite time for when we can make these things happen, and I know that’s part of why he’s been flooded with this world wide support to make them happen now – it’s humbling and fantastic!
Over time his vision is going to deteriorate more, but that doesn’t mean any of his wishes will become irrelevant. They’ll change, we’ll modify, Ben will adapt as he always does… but visiting a beach or walking the streets of London will still be amazing when Ben can’t see, they’ll just be a different sensory experience.
That simple line on a postcard got me thinking about Ben’s life long bucket list – the things he may want to experience that magnify his other senses, that enrich his life through sound and touch and taste and emotion. Aren’t those senses just as spectacular?
Our desire to fulfill these experiences isn’t because we think that losing his vision is the end of the world or that all experiences become meaningless without sight – not at all! We just know that some opportunities will be easier for him to fully embrace with his sight. When the day comes that we can’t make that happen, then we are going to throw ourselves full force into all the other ways we can help Ben experience the world.
So that’s the next big question I’ll be pondering – if you couldn’t see, what would you want to do? To taste, to touch, to smell, to hear, to climb, to ride, to submerse yourself in?
I want to hear your suggestions! Give us amazing things that Ben can enjoy now AND in the years to come?? What’s the best thing you’ve ever smelled, most amazing thing you’ve ever heard, favorite thing to touch, most delicious thing to taste?
Some of my ideas?
– FOOD! Make him super comfortable in the kitchen. Both cooking and tasting and smelling and touching and yum! We love food around here.
– Learning to make ice cream by touch and taste!
– Kneading and baking bread. (Ben just made his first loaf of ciabatta bread, with some oven help. It was great!)
– Riding a bike. Ben did this at his Camp Abilities! We also found an inexpensive tandem bike on Amazon so now he takes bike rides to the park with his dad.
– Surfing! Or at least finding a way to ride the waves.
– Riding a horse. Ben now rides at Spirit Horse Therapy.
– Touching animals of all varieties: sea life, snakes, frogs, birds, cats, dogs.
– Learning to play an instrument: we’re looking for a piano teacher comfortable helping him learn by ear, and encouraging him to consider the violin, guitar, and dreams. ALL instruments would be good for him! (If you are local and know teacher resources for a situation like this please let us know?)
– Music appreciation: listening to a variety of composers from over the years.
– Art: sculpting, pottery, finger painting, charcoals, anything with texture.
– Laying on the beach listening to the waves. I love that sound.
– Yoga or other types of exercise to stretch and listen to his body.
– Dance!! With a partner (ballroom?) or on his own. Though I’m not sure how to best make this happen.
– Getting comfortable walking/running with a sighted guide.
– Gardening: tending for plants, digging in the dirt, feeling the texture and changes as they grow.
What would you suggest?
(And Sheri, thank you for that comment – you were inspired.)