Thursday August 2nd
San Diego Zoo + Stage Performance day!
After an emotional day before, it was nice to wake up refreshed and look forward to a fun, relaxing day. They had planned a day trip to the zoo for family’s that were interested and we weren’t going to miss it! This was also the first day that we got to meet more families, most which were traveling in today. They had a zoo day planned out for any families that wanted to go. I remember feeling sad that our trip felt like it was ‘almost over’ until I realized it had just begun! There was still a lot in store for us and we were so excited, but little did we know another and even more emotional day was ahead.
Owen woke up super early (surprise, surprise, Sanfilippo.) I took his cpap mask off and had him jump in bed with me for a bit longer to cuddle. But then he fell back asleep and didn’t want to wake up when it was actually time, ha.
Here he is! All dressed, happy and ready to go to the zoo! We decided to wear our ‘Owen’s Story’ shirts that day so that we could spread the word however we could to others! We usually go back and forth on a couple of his guys that we take traveling with us, but decided to bring his curious ‘George’ with us on this trip instead of Woody, thinking George would have more fun seeing his monkey friends at the zoo! We sat around for a bit once we were ready and waited for our shuttle.
When the shuttle came, we loaded up with all of the other families and got comfortable in the very back seats of the bus. He looked at the zoo map to see all of the animals and I slowly started gaining anxiety seeing how big this zoo was, haha. It was going to be a lonnng, hot day.
Once we arrived, we found out that we were there before the zoo had even opened to the public. They had an area in part of the zoo that was just for us and they served us all breakfast and gave us a private animal show. After we watched the show, we were welcome to head into the zoo and walk around for the day. It was so nice to be out and about and making memories. (But still really hot)
Of course when your last name is ‘Lyon’ you take a photo in front of the biggest one in the zoo, right? ha.
O met some new friends! They ran around and played together after breakfast a little bit before we watched the animal show. The dog and the leopard they showed live together and are good friends, the bird can talk and Owen was excited when he got to introduce George to the other monkeys. They had some gorgeous exhibits! We hated how we accidentally ended up walking in some circles and remember seeing a ton of birds and monkeys after a while haha.
We took a break for lunch and took photos ‘with a baby panda.’ Then after hitting a few more exhibits, we headed to the gift shop (to cool off in the air conditioning) before heading back on the bus.
Owen walked most of the day with us, but that zoo was so huge, I’m SO glad we took his stroller along for him to be able to rest in between! Phew! I tried getting Ran to push me up some of the hills too but that didn’t work out to my advantage!
Once we got back, we changed into our attire and O got to make some sand art for a few minutes before we had to get to rehearsal for his stage performance. I had NO idea how well he would do with the rest of the big day we had planned ahead after a long, HOT morning at the zoo. Back at home, we would have been done and would need to rest it out but today we just had no time for that! New place and a new atmosphere does him well sometimes.
Just waiting for our turn to go on stage… and I just couldn’t stop staring at him.
There were a few speakers before us to start off the show and then it was our turn! This doctor, Mark E. Haskins, specifically got an award for going above and beyond on a global level in the research of MPS. It was such a nice award and I loved his story. We are forever grateful for people like him.
Here we go!
If you haven’t seen the video of him doing his performance, you can check it out on his Facebook page here. Please show him some love and help pass on his journey. We are blessed to have Owen walking and talking as well as he is in this disease and we are always trying to spread the hope for others to show that miracles are a real thing. We are blessed every day to have him here with us. These two photos are just screen shots that I took from videos, sorry that they are blurry.
He was all confident and ready “uh, do it again?!” with one of his little guys in his hand while tears ran down my cheeks.
All the feels. Ugh, allllll the feels you guys.
He did SUCH a good job and we are so proud of him, especially after the long day that we had!
I’m so in love with this photo. It speaks for itself.
After we were done, they had a night on the lawn planned for us and that’s where we spent the rest of the evening. There was a balloon guy, a band playing, lights in all the trees to set the mood once the gorgeous sunset was down, food tables everywhere and the most perfect place to just make connections. If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know that’s what I stand strongly for. Meeting and connecting with people and families in person. Parents from all around the world and the CEO’s of the MPS Society, we were just over the moon. I wish they would have had this night every single night that we were there! Here are just some of the photos we took. We strongly enjoyed soaking in all the moments!
We danced and sang and walked around and held hands and ate food and danced some more. My cheeks hurt from smiling the whole time and we just felt like we were ‘home.’
This was our home and these were all of our people.
At the end of the night, most of the others had left and a small group of us shut down the lawn party (no, seriously, they shut the lights off on us, haha) by singing Moana. We met another couple this night who had just lost their son with MPS IIIA (the same as Owen) just 6 weeks prior to the trip and we were just so blessed to meet them and introduce Owen to them. (Hi, friends! We miss you!) They just adored O and all of his sweetness and singing and goofiness and again, giving them hope that put a smile on their face. We wish that we lived closer to this couple and so many others that we met on this trip. And we were so unbelievably overwhelmed with happiness knowing that as much as this journey is an extremely sad one, we are still able to shine our families light and happiness on others who are going through it all with us as well.
Two performances in one day?! GO, OWEN!!!
I think we’ve always known he was made to shine, but being on stage is his apparently his thing! haha. I’ll download this video to his page as well soon for you all to see.
Tomorrow is a new day and today was a GREAT one!