Saturday, January 20, 2018

An Ocean of Dreams: SeaWorld San Antonio

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Because of Noah's tremendous physical challenges he requires extra attention and care.  Sometimes that is a really hard thing to balance the unique needs of each child.  I often feel like I'm living in two different worlds; a special needs world and a typical world.  Caught between the best of both beautiful worlds.  Luke, however at his tender age often feels a bit jealous to the attention that Noah often receives throughout the day, and he craves sometimes just a cuddle when I'm spoon feeding his older brother.  The guilt is real and it's big.  Because you're trying to split yourself into two halves to accommodate and balance the needs of both children.

When Brave Young Hearts set up Noah's adventure trip, we never expected that they'd gift Luke with his own special day as well to SeaWorld.  Luke has had a rather strong love for ocean life - and in particular Orca Whales.  The child eats, sleeps and breathes anything orca whale related.  So SeaWorld was a really big deal to Luke and the entire family.  Brave Young Hearts even coordinated a Dine with Shamu event for us and even went out of their way to contact the chef directly to coordinate arrangements to have a meal pureed for Noah at the park. 

To watch the light in Luke's eyes as soon as he hit the parking lot made me teary - because I knew he was experiencing his own dreams.  In a way your dreams have to die when you have a child with special needs but you never want those dreams to die for either of your children.  Their happiness regardless of the challenging circumstances continue to be on the foremost of your mind and heart.  I never want Luke to feel cheated by the family dynamic that he was born into or to feel secondary to what is happening around him.
Luke very well could live at SeaWorld.  He was so at home there.  A place that speaks his language.  Dining with Shamu was the most amazing experience.  The trainers were so hands-on and it was such an up-close and personal experience.  They talked with Noah (knowing he couldn't talk back and Noah spoke the best he could with his laughs, squeals and bright blue eyes).  And Luke was so super quiet.  He just listened and absorbed it all like a sponge.  The chef pureed a dish of mac and cheese and chicken for Noah and they went out of their way to have a slice of cheesecake on hand just for him.  I cannot tell you how overwhelming it is to have strangers go out of their way to help you and make accommodations and fulfill usual requests so that you can be included like the rest of the world.  Brave Young Hearts made it all so perfect.  Every detail, every little single magical moment.  They looked out for us in all the ways that I wish the everyone would.
The trainers must have felt our tremendous awe of the experience and quietly invited us down to the tank for a private meet and greet with the Orca Whales.  It was a surreal moment to be that close to them.  Only glass separate you from them.  Their eyes spoke volumes of understanding and tenderness.  One of the largest species on earth dubbed a killer whale - yet they felt so majestic and loving in that moment.  We were able to get some pictures up against the tank with three of them - the mother and two of her babies.  A big thank you to Doug, the trainer at SeaWorld (While I know this blog is far from timely) I hope you find your way back to Noah's blog to know how much you gifted both of my boys that day.  And you deserve such mention for your kindness that day.  I won't forget you.  I never forget anyone that touches our journey in such a special way.  Thank you for all the memories and the smiles that we'll treasure a lifetime.
SeaWorld is rather big, and we must have walked it three or four times that day back and forth between events and exhibits.  We were unable to see the dolphin exhibit that day.  It was closed for weekend maintenance, but we were able to see a couple of them swimming out in the open which was still neat.  Noah loved all the shows, he beamed with laughter and smiles.  Luke was in his element - so much so that we worry that Luke is going to grow up and find a place to live near the ocean...  he's very passionate about sea life.

"You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.