Want to read about the wishes that have come true? See that list here!
When we received the news that his eyesight had changed so dramatically we immediately began Ben’s wish list. What did he want to see, where did he want to go, what could we help him experience visually before he lost more sight… One of his therapists explained that as he gets older it will be easier for him to describe things and interact with the sighted world if he has memories of things – like snow, she said, or the ocean or a mountain. And of course beyond the practical logistics of it, we wanted to help Ben have the emotional experience of witnessing this wild and wonderful world!
Some of what Ben wants to see isn’t realistic, either because of practicality or finances. But we still want him to share all his dreams – if it’s something we can’t see in person we’re looking up places online to see videos or photos. Almost every day he pops into our room after bedtime and says, “May I see a photo of a glacier?” or “Can you show me Mount Rushmore?” or “I want to see the Sistine Chapel.”
It takes all my self control to not cry every time he asks me to show him these things.
Anyway, some of Ben’s list makes me laugh – like the Apple store. Others have me curious (a bike store, or chalk under a microscope??) While we can’t make it all happen, here’s his list of things he hopes to see and experience while he still has as much eyesight as possible.
Ben’s Vision Wish List (non-local):
- Doctor Who & Harry Potter studios in England: I said maybe someday… Our dream is to take him spring 2015 but we don’t want to get their hopes up too much as plane tickets alone look like they’ll run $10,000+ for the family. Ouch. But we’re working on it!!
- Also in England: the Globe theater (we’ve read several of his plays in kids’ versions), London Eye, Big Ben (of course! Ben!) then the Roman Wall (he read about it), Van Gogh’s sunflower, and Tower Bridge.
- While we’re over there anyway (and he’s dreaming big) he added Paris, to see the Louvre & Eiffel tower. Those were his two main requests but I’m sure we would go see more! (I had a dream about this – you can read about it
- Southern California: Los Angeles to see where his big brother was born & the ocean, but he’s also asked about movie studios, Legoland, and Disney.
- Northern California: the Golden Gate Bridge & the Redwood Forest
- Hoover Dam and Las Vegas
- the Grand Canyon (Tickets are booked for October!!)
- snorkeling, maybe in the Florida Keys or Gulf Coast
- Frankfurt, Germany (He says he wants to see where I was born – I didn’t know he wanted to see it until today! Oh, and because Kinder Eggs. My parents sent them some when they use to live there, and he’s not forgotten them.)
- Parthenon in Greece (There is one in
Kentucky! Not Kentucky, Tennessee! The friends we have near there are in KY, thus my confusion. And that’s WAY closer than Greece! I know it’s not the same, but we’re working on a budget. )
- The giant statue of Athena (also a version in Tennessee)
- A moose, but I think he’s kidding because he’s laughing really hard.
- The Food Network kitchen with all the cooking people. (He LOVES cooking shows, his “most favorite” is Cupcake Wars, but he also loves Worst Cooks in America and Iron Chef. And Chopped, and… he kept going, I just stopped typing.)
- The northern lights, he was fascinated by the pictures I showed him! (Where can we make this happen that would be relatively inexpensive? Because we can’t all fly to Iceland.) z7 Alaska (maybe to see a moose and northern lights??) FALL 2015!!! (Announcement story to come.)
- DC: Lincoln Memorial & the white house (We watched some of MLKs speeches and he was fascinated, both by the man and the memorial.) Spring 2015!!
- Children’s Aquarium in Fair Park, because Ben asked if he could teach sea life and we said we didn’t think it was possible. Apparently there you can!
- a Weird Al concert which WILL happen as soon as I do better research and find a show relatively close.
- sand dunes (We’re hoping to visit Monohan State Park as the Sahara, his first request, is a bit far.)
- A bakery that makes yummy food, “mostly croissants and pastries.” He also wants to see how people decorate fancy cakes.
- Also food related, he wants to see how ice cream is made. He is so my child…
- use a microscope to see tiny things (a microscope arrived yesterday!)
- a toy factory (He says he likes seeing things made.)
- Fort Worth Museum of Science & History because he heard there was more than one science museum in the area and he adores the Perot. (Granted!)
- Fort Worth Botanical Gardens because he heard about the koi pond! I’ve not been in the Japanese gardens but I hear they are gorgeous, and the closest we may get the kids to Japan. (GRANTED!)
- Great Wolf Lodge waterpark in Grapevine, after hearing about some friends staying there. I let him watch the videos of riding inside the watersides and he thought that looked so cool!
- ice skating (We skated in Albuquerque and he fell in LOVE, we’re now looking for local options to get a family membership pass which is surprisingly hard to find!)
- a waterfall (GRANTED! Turner Falls later this year)
- a cave: Kit wants to show him Carlsbad Caverns but we are looking at some caves closer, near Austin & San Antonio. (Granted – end of summer trip to caves south of us!)
- The Alamo & Riverwalk since we’ve been studying Texas for our homeschool (Granted – end of summer!)
- Africa (he said the Sahara, the pyramids, and a safari) A friend suggested instead we look at Fossil Rim park for a North Texas version of a safari. (Granted!)
- The Dallas Aquarium (Granted!)
- Heard Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary (I think our Perot pass gets in some of us for free, checking.) GRANTED!
- Chuck E. Cheese: Hmm… this seems hunger driven rather than vision related. (Ben defended this wish and said the older two kids went and talked about all the cool things they saw so he wants a turn to go!)
- a bike store (The inside. As opposed to the outside? He wanted me to include that – the INSIDE of a bike store.) GRANTED!
- a river GRANTED!
- a video game company, like Nintendo (which I said wasn’t realistic but a local option got in touch!! End of summer)
- How they make tortillas. (This boy loves food, and one of his vision helpers is teaching him “Cooking without Looking.” Thus all the food related wishes.) Granted!!
- skiing (I’m nervous about this one but we’ll try to make it happen with a helmet. And bubble wrap.)
- Christkindlmart! We can’t get to Germany but I’m so excited to share that with the kids, one of my happiest childhood holiday memories. I told him about the twinkling lights and how beautiful the booths are at night.
- The Nutracker ballet, they watch the video each year but this December I want to take the older ones to see it live.
- Antarctica, which is not happening but someone said the ICE! exhibit at Gaylord may be a close second? They said it’s incredible and he may get an Antarctic feel, so we’ll check on tickets in December.
PLACES WE WANT HIM TO SEE
These are places we’ve not necessarily told him about/shown him online yet but we’re going to try and take the kids to see.
- Farmers Branch Historical Park because of the old pioneer buildings and general store. (Bonus, looks like it’s free??) GRANTED!
- Similar idea, the Log Cabin Village in FW. GRANTED!
- The Kimball for more art in FW but also for the building itself, suggested by his architect uncle.
- Fort Worth Water Gardens – I hear they are beautiful at night.
- The FW Modern, because it’s gorgeous and because when B was tiny and only home a couple months my sister babysat our big kids and Kit and I took a visit there with Ben and oxygen tank in tow for Kit’s bday. We stayed very isolated so no one would expose him to any bugs! We’ve not visited since, shame on us. (Plus I appreciate when the wishes are free, much easier to make them happen!)
- Bass Hall because someone said you can do a free tour and he can just see the beautiful building. GRANTED!
- Central Park in Frisco (another suggestion for lovely spots to take him.)
- Dallas Farmers market, big and fantastic! I think our little food lover would enjoy it.
The ones Mom vetoed due to practicality/finances BUT has been told she must reconsider because apparently Ben’s dreams have a way of moving heaven and earth to happen.
- The Great Wall of China
- Mount Rushmore
(too long a drive) I’ll be brave.
- the Sistine Chapel (Maybe we’ll get to Italy someday!)
- Death Valley
(too hot) We’ll pack water.
- Leaning Tower of Pisa (See Italy above.)
- Roman Colosseum (Ditto – clearly we need an Italy trip.)
- New Orleans/Mardi Gras stuff in Louisiana (since I said I’m not taking six kids to NO during Mardi Gras, he asked if we could visit the celebration elsewhere and the city not during that month. I said that’s more likely!)
Update: I feel bad, because I vetoed some of Ben’s wishes and he then thought some others weren’t realistic and didn’t share them with us (like Germany and snorkeling.) So I told him DREAM BIG and tell us anything and everything! Okay, but I’m still not willing to do Antarctica.
So if you were losing your eyesight what would YOU want to see? We love suggestions! Truly, please share your ideas – even if we can’t make the trip, we can show him online the places you think are best. Leave a comment and tell us what Ben should see!
Ben’s Wish List
PO Box 2107
Lake Dallas, TX 75065-2107
Ben and all the kids LOVE postcards so if you want to send one from your hometown or your vacation spot then they would be thrilled. It’s the next best thing to him getting to see those places in person.
Update II: We’ve been receiving a LOT of messages asking if we have a donation page set up for Ben. We’ve not set anything up, but this donation page set up in Ben’s honor which was so kind:
Also, go give us ideas here for the NON-vision bucket list: what should Ben try later on that helps him focus on his other senses? We’re loving the fun ideas – it helps Ben get excited about all of the adventures to come when he’s no longer light dependent. (I love that phrase from Thunder Dog! Talk about giving a new perspective on life without sight.)