So much has been happening here in the last three weeks that it's impossible to fit it all in one post, so I've decided to write about virtually none of it in this one and concentrate on perhaps the most exciting development, from Abbie's perspective. She is (finally, finally, finally) going horseback riding each week!
She has been waiting for five years for this...first for her trach stoma to close, then to get past the hip surgery, the broken legs, the hand surgeries....she developed Olympian-level patience, that is for sure. With deepest gratitude to Maunawalea Riding Center, and their wonderful volunteers, Abbie gets to Cowgirl-up every Tuesday morning.
Auntie Patty, her riding partner, getting her helmet all set
This first time I took her, we didn't know how best to set up the saddle and support chair for her. In order to get to know her better, Patty decided to just buddy-ride with her. This turned out to be perfect! So, for now, Patty will continue to ride with Abbie, who melts into Patty with each lap around the arena.
The week I was in New Orleans unexpectedly, Genevieve and her son John (who took all these pictures) took Abbie by themselves. So, I hadn't seen them use this neck pillow before. Abbie didn't seem to mind it at all, at first.
But, eventually, it was time for the pillow to go, because Abbie and Auntie Patty were about to hit the road!
Not only do they let Abbie ride around in a covered, shaded arena (Thanks, Lions Club!), but they also let her trail ride down the hill a bit. A group of students volunteered to build a "Sensory Trail" down there, with fun things to do and experience while on a horse.
Abbie getting ready to throw a ball on the Sensory Trail
Abbie and her riding entourage...all volunteers. Makes me want to just keep hugging them every time I see them!
The view from the riding arena. This place is therapy for all of us...if only you could feel the gentle breezes and smell the scent of flowers...aaaaaahhhhhhhh. Love Waimanalo!
Abbie "getting the mail" on the Sensory Trail. Usually there is a cute little rubber ducky waiting for her.
Love just oozes out of these horses, people and place. A tremendous blessing for all of us that instantly became the highlight in Abbie's week.
One quick story to illustrate how kind they are. Like many ranches, "Da Ranch", where the Riding Center is located, is multifunctional. They also do a bit of auto maintenance and mechanical work up there, led by the owner Ben (in the blue, standing by Abbie on the horse).
This week, stricken with the stomach flu, I was unable to drive out there, so Genevieve did it again. As she was leaving, they asked her, "Why is your van making that noise?"
"I don't know," she answered, "there's no warning lights or anything."
They called Ben over who took a listen, popped the hood, took a look and determined that there was no oil...none...in the reservoir. Had Genevieve driven home like that, the engine could have seized right in the middle of the windy road next to the ocean, and that would also have been the end of my van. Yikes!
They put three quarts in to get her home, and sent them on their way. What a tremendous blessing, in every way!
Much more to come as time allows....all is well here, but please pray for my dear friends, the McDaniel Family, after Duane's homegoing on May 30. A wife now a widow, four young children missing a loving Daddy...prayers are their breath and life right now.