It was bliss. Complete and utter bliss.
Angel was coming for a sleep over, and all week long I was planning and scheming. Recently she is crazy about horses. When she asked a while back if I had any books that contained horses, I was all smiles when she sat on the floor “reading” my old horse-magazines. She is a true fantasist, and likes to tell us stories that “really” happened. So when she was done looking at the pictures of a circus girl doing tricks while riding on a horse; it was only logical she also had done this before. On her very own horse even. Sure-sure, it was quite a difficult trick to master; she had fallen off her horse once while performing, but she wasn’t scared at all. She jumped right back on her horse, and everyone applauded….
That’s what made me call several horse-riding centers in the neighborhood. I thought she might be surprised if we told her she could actually learn to ride a horse. I found a horse-riding center nearby, which sounded very easygoing and unpretentious for a little girl of six years old. I was so excited!
We had to do some shopping before we would pick her up. We already had a spare bed, but no pillow or blanket, let alone a cheerful children’s duvet cover and pillowcase. I don’t know which one had a greater glow on the cheeks, while searching the duvet covers, Ramon or me. Ramon found a perfect one holding a unicorn. We were so happy. We knew she would love this! We walked to the cash register, and ‘bumped’ into a huge stuffed unicorn. All though I’m convinced Ramon had already spotted it long before I did…
‘Look! Isn’t this fantastic!!! Malha would lo-ooooove this!’ He grabbed a medium sized one off the shelf, after he looked at my frown knowing I would think it’s rather undue to buy a stuffed animal that is three times the size of Malha. I smiled. Yeah, why not. Angel would love it just the same, as a similar unicorn is printed on the duvet cover. We almost skipped to the car, ready to pick her up.
We took her to a second hand store two blocks from our home, after we first played shortly at a playground. ‘Why are we going to a store? You had already shopped before you picked me up. I would really like to play with you a little while longer aunty Joyce.’ But when we told her we were going to a shop where they sell all kinds off horsy stuff, she was already skipping 10 skips ahead of us.
Her cheeks went all rosy when she saw horse-pictures on the wall, boots, caps, competition clothing and prizes on the shelfs.
We made her fit some boots and a cap, and when she saw a hobbyhorse, she immediately ran around the store pretending she rode a horse. ‘What do you think about we actually going to a horse-riding center and you ride a real horse?’
She made a funny face, and thought I was yoking. ‘No really. We are taking the cap and boots with us, and mommy already put a legging in your bag. So what do you think…you want to rush home to change cloths, and then head to the horsies?’
It was wonderful!!!!
Her smile was up to her ears when she saw all the horses. Without hesitation she ran up to a horse, and pet it’s nose. ‘Hello horsy, I’m going to ride you.’ She said with a big smile. We were welcomed by the proprietor, and were showed around the stables and horses.
Angel immediately was taken in, and when she was introduced to ‘her’ horse, she had to help with brushing and cleaning,
and to saddle up her horse.
When she actually got up on her horse, her little face was intensely focused.
Ramon and me were like two Japanese snapping pictures and filming, feeling utterly proud and overrun by emotion.
We thought she would be exhausted by all these new impulses, and probably wouldn’t want to help make spaghetti anymore, as she requested when we picked her up. But there was nothing of a sort. She couldn’t wait to help me when we got home.
My day couldn’t get any better than this. I felt I was living my dream. And I wasn’t the only one. I could see Ramon was taken just as much as me, by this little girl laughing and tittle-tattling about, in our house. Oooh, how we longed for this sound to fill our house for ourselves.
Angel and me pottered around in the kitchen, letting her knead, chop, smell, and taste.
After a lovely dinner, all three of us walked the doggies. Angel ran and played with Malha, and then she picked flowers for me and Ramon. ‘Will you put them in a vase aunty Joyce?’ ‘Off course I will. I will put them in our most beautiful and special vase we have, because we love how you picked the flowers especially for us.’ And I gave her a big kiss. She gave us a beautiful smile in return, and picked a hundred flowers more.
When we lay in our bed to sleep, Ramon held me tight. We lay silent for a while, and then I felt a tear fell from his face on to mine. I couldn’t hold mine back anymore either. ‘Can we keep it?’ he said softly. I laughed through my tears. I knew exactly how he felt. ‘It is such a mixed feeling. I feel so much joy having Angel around, but on the other side, it grieves me so, for us not being granted this for ourselves.’ I gave him a kiss, and hugged him even tighter.
The next morning Angel and I made croissants together, and set the table. She watched how Kuzco and Malha jumped around the bed to wake Ramon, and the laughter started to fill our house again. I loved how she wanted to try each and everything there was on the breakfast table. ‘I can’t eat all, that’s too much. But I can’t choose. Everything looks and smells so nice!’ I told her she could have small bites of everything, and she did.
We went to the park to walk Kuzco and Malha, and then went to the petting zoo.
She was definitely stalling to go home, but after we got an ice-cream, she really wanted to tell her mommy all about the things she had done. Especially about her horse riding experience off course, and show mommy her super-duper cool riding boots which are never coming off her feet anymore.
I was exhausted when we came home after bringing Angel back to my sister. My body hurt like hell, and my seizures were pushing with great frequency. I was amazed Angel wasn’t bothered by them. Off course I had explained all about it, but still, I thought it would make an huge impression on her. But all she was on about, were all the things we did together, and how funny Uncle Ramon is. She really had to laugh so much about his silly things. Well, isn’t that a huge compliment?
My recovery days are filled with happy memories.