The dolphins I swam with that day were so smart, so responsive, and so happy. After the group got comfortable with the dolphins, we each had one-on-one time with a dolphin. Mine "kissed" me on the cheek, and I held his snout in my hand and kissed him back. Then he let me give him a hug. I even held his pectoral fin and we danced - what a hoot! In the top right photo I was going for a "belly ride;" the dolphin is belly-up and I am holding her two pectoral fins - it was exhilarating! We were in the water for a total of 45 minutes, but I could have stayed forever! I don't know if words can adequately describe the joy I felt.
To be honest, these are the kinds of dreams I never really thought would come true. We have a limited income and haven't really travelled except to visit family. But it all happened because this special friend was getting married.
The groom, John, is one of my husband's best friends; he has known him since high school. Our kids call him Uncle John. He really is an honorary member of my husband's Hayden family, so my mother-in-law wanted somebody from the Hayden clan to attend - and she said she would pay for it. Mike's siblings all had young children so they couldn't really travel, and we became the designated representatives. My mother-in-law offered to come and stay with our kids but instead they flew to her and spent their Spring Break with their cousins - all thanks to Grammie!
It made me realize, that in my depression, I had assumed that I would never get the chance to do this. It reminded me that even then, when you've given up hope, there might come an unexpected opportunity - for dreams to come true!
I hadn't previously looked at this dolphin charm in person, but as you can see in the photos, it's an incredible likeness to the real thing! And when I see this charm, and watch him twirl around my bracelet, I can still picture the dolphins jumping and diving. I am reminded of the humour and playfulness of a dolphin giving kisses, singing for us, and making rude noises - and letting us hug him in return. And I can remember the sensations and emotions I felt in that moment - the trust required for her to roll to her back so I could rub her smooth pink belly, and the trust for me to allow her to swim up behind me and take me for a ride. And I was struck by the gracefulness of her movements, and the power in her body. It truly was - as Pandora coins it - an "unforgettable moment." I smiled the whole time. What you can't see - or rather hear - in the picture on the top right of the collage, is that I am hooting and yelling, "This is awesome!!"
There is another side to this adventure, when you battle depression, anxiety and panic attacks. In my ongoing recovery from my eating disorder I had to wrestle with the demon telling me that a vacation in Mexico was "wasted" on someone as fat as me. And I had to face my fears of putting on a bathing suit... in public... and in pictures... which I am now sharing on Facebook, Instagram and my blog - eek! I had to face the fear that they wouldn't have large enough life-jackets. And I had to face the fear that I would be told I was "too fat" for a dolphin to pull. Yes these were the things I was anticipating, and was anxious about. So this charm is very significant and will remind me to "face your fears" and "don't put off living - or chasing your dreams - until you are the perfect weight, shape, or size."
So my friends, what are you putting off? What are you waiting for? What are your dreams?
YouTube video Norah Jones "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"