First was the airport. He was thrilled seeing all the airplanes ("airpane" as he calls them). He was even learning how to make the sound and trying to raise his hand pretending to make it "fly". Once on the plane, he kept telling me he was on an airplane. Then every few minutes he would say, "Kaley? You on airpane too?" Then it would be, "Jacob? You on airpane too?" He did this with every single family member a couple of times. Pretty funny.
By the time we got to the hotel that evening, it was 3am to our bodies. Manny had slept some on the plane and was still pretty tired. We ended up in 2 hotel rooms - one for Dan and the boys and one for the girls, Manny and me. He didn't like that we were split up. When it was time for bed, he freaked out. He cried a LOT and seemed terrified. Normally he HATES to be put on his stomach but this night, the only way I could get him to calm down was to put him on my tummy and we were face to face with me squeezing him tightly. I kept telling him that we were staying together.
Once we got on the boat, he didn't realize we were ON the "big boat" as he called it. He was so funny as he would get all excited about all the boats around us but it was completely lost on him that HE was ON a boat too.
Every staff member that met him fell in love with him. (duh). The dining room was often very crowded and it's difficult to find tables close together for all 8 of us (not to mention the extra room the wheelchair takes up). But there were handicapped tables together near the doors and the staff would basically "reserve" it for us, pull them together for us and then all ooooh and aaaaah over Manny. He even learned their names too. He'd call them by name when we saw them. "Janice" "Tatiana" and "Deepak" were among his favorite staff members. (Even while home for a week now, he'll start saying their names out of the clear blue!)
Janice would point to herself and say, "Manny, who is this? Janice." so he eventually would see her and say, "Who is this Janice?" while pointing to himself. LOL
When we were in Juneau, we took the tram to the top of Mt. Roberts. At one point, the trail became inaccessible via wheelchair so the kids and Dan continued on the trail and Manny and I went back to the building. What you need to know is that Manny breaks out into the song, "Mighty to Save" ALL THE TIME. Maybe 20 times a day. There's one line that says, "He can move the mountains, My God is mighty to save. He is mighty to save." This is the part that Manny started singing out of the clear blue. And as I looked at him, there was this mountain range right behind him.
And it hit me.
You see, we live where there are no mountains (23 feet above sea level is considered high and dry around here!). We sing that song all the time and think nothing about it, kinda go through the motions of singing it. But this day, there was a mountain RIGHT THERE. And I imagined God moving it. WOW.
Furthermore, with the grain of a mustard seed, WE are able to move mountains it says. Double WOW.
In addition, Manny "Got it". He connected the word Mountain from the song with the tall things right in front of us. I have no clue how deep his understanding went but I know he "got it" on some level because he said "Mountain" and pointed to one while he was singing the song. Cool.
So tears started streaming down my face. It was a cool spiritual experience. I can never sing that song again without having that memory.
The next day was Skagway. While we were looking at all the amazing views, this is what Manny was doing!
...asleep. Yes, I think it was all lost on him too. But he enjoyed playing with toys in the car and just hangin' with all of us.
But not to worry, when we got out, he joined right in and had fun. (Complete with sound effects! LOL)
This dog and he had a special bond instantly. He CRIED when we left!!
Most nights, the kids would eat dinner at a normal time in the buffet line and then head up to the kid room to play. We would go to the restaurant (sit down dinner) at 8:30 pm (waaaay tooo late to be eating, especially considering that was a 4 hour time zone change from EST). Manny would sit with us and I started bringing him his little DVD player with Diego video (his favorite). He'd sit the whole dinner watching that.
So now you know what an Alaskan cruise looks like through the eyes of a 2 year old!
It's all about being together.