We have amazing neighbors. They have raised animals and crops on this land for generations.
They were never able to have children, so they love their animals and tenderly take care of their crops with all the passion of parents.
And they love our children.
So, when My Madison, Miss Make Things Happen, found out that Mrs. Wonderful Neighbor was having her 80th birthday soon and has always wished and dreamed of owning her very own alpaca, she started researching how to get her hands on one.
(She filled in Mr. Wonderful Neighbor on her secret scheme to make sure it would be a suitable surprise birthday gift, and he was quite stunned at the idea, but in favor of it and gave his approval.)
Immediately, she found that alpacas are very expensive. As in thousands of dollars. Not only is that out of our usual birthday gift price range, but it so happens that alpacas are pack animals and have been known to actually die of broken hearts if they are separated from their peeps, so we would need more than one!
Do you think that made My Madison give up on her hope of making a dream come true for our neighbor? Are you new here?! OF COURSE IT DIDN'T!
She called around to several alpaca farms in our area and told each one her story, that she was a 16 year old girl who had saved her own money to buy her elderly neighbor an alpaca for her birthday.
One particular breeder was quite taken with her story and asked her about how much money she had saved up. When she told her that $150 was what she could spend, the breeder told her they had a 5 month old alpaca with blue eyes, which is considered a flaw in the standard, that they would be willing to let go of for just that price!
And since Madison had done so much research on the matter and was worried about "Angel" getting lonely, the breeder said she would include a little friend for her! A 2 1/2 year old male! They even threw in a bale of hay and Angel's favorite food, a 2 month supply.
The breeder has since talked to me on the phone several times and told me how impressed she is with Madison's maturity and gumption!
So, we lined the back of the van with a tarp and some newspapers and set off for the hour and a half drive to pick up 2 alpacas, just like any normal family would!
We got plenty of odd looks driving through downtown Fort Worth with our 2 four legged passengers, but we just smiled and waved and were giddy with the thought of how the birthday surprise would be received.
We had checked and knew the neighbors would be at home, so Madison called as we got within a few minutes from the driveway. She told Mrs. Wonderful Neighbor that we had gone into town and had seen something she might like for her birthday so we got it for her, and was it okay if we brought it over even though we hadn't had a chance to wrap it.
She said it was very sweet, and I'm pretty sure she thought it was a wallet or some other trinket.
We pulled into the drive and she was there waiting with her husband who was smiling like the cat that swallowed the canary. He whispered to me that she had NO idea what she was about to see when we opened those doors.
She was absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude and surprise and said so many times. She said this was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for her.
None of us could stop smiling the rest of the day!