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.
UPDATE: Here’s the consolidated version of what is remaining:
- redwood forest/northern California
- southern California
- Las Vegas
- Mardi Gras somewhere (mom said probably NOT in New Orleans)
- Parthenon & Athena statue in Tennessee
- sand dunes
- Great Wolf lodge
- toy factory
Ben’s Full Vision Wish List (non-local):
- Doctor Who & Harry Potter studios in England: (TICKETS BOOKED!)
- 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! (TICKETS BOOKED W/ENGLAND TRIP!)
- the Grand Canyon (WISH GRANTED!!)
- The northern lights, he was fascinated by the pictures I showed him! (WISH GRANTED!!)
- DC: Lincoln Memorial & the white house. We watched some of MLKs speeches and he was fascinated, both by the man and the memorial. (WISH GRANTED!!)
- 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
- Las Vegas
- 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 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.)
- Children’s Aquarium in Fair Park, because Ben asked if he could touch sea life and we said we didn’t think it was possible. Apparently there you can! (Happening fall 2015!)
- 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! We’ll visit in the spring to see the cherry blossoms.)
- a waterfall (GRANTED!)
- 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 GRANTED!
- a bike store (The inside. As opposed to the outside? He wanted me to include that – the INSIDE of a bike store.) GRANTED!
- 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 toy factory (He says he likes seeing things made.)
- 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!)
- 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. There’s a free market in DFW.
- The Nutracker ballet, they watch the video each year but this December I want to take the older ones to see it live. (GRANTED!)
- 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.)
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.
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.)