Back in 1984, I was 7 years old.
It was a hot summer, and we were vacationing at a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains with another family, our best friends. I remember learning about the Olympics for the first time, spitting watermelon seeds, making forts out of bunk beds. But the strongest memory is smoke.
We were playing on the dock when one of the grown-ups looked up.
"Do you smell something?"
The column of smoke was coming from our cabin.
And the baby was asleep inside.
The adults bolted for the house, leaving three confused children alone on the dock. The storm clouds were coming in fast, and in that moment, the day went from idyllic to terrifying. They told us later that each of our parents tried a different way into the house, finding every way blocked by thick, choking smoke, locked doors, and windows long painted shut. I huddled in a boat with my friends, watching smoke-stained, tearful adults still in their bathing suits carry the crying baby out of the house, trailing singed blankets.
And then the house collapsed.
That's when it hit me.
I had lost something, too. My most precious possession, something that no one would brave a burning house to save.
My favorite My Little Pony.
Her name was Skydancer, and I lost her that day, along with all my clothes, my toys, and my favorite towel. But she was the only thing I really missed. At seven, faced with the terror of a house on fire, of sirens blaring and black smoke and falling trees, that toy was the only thing I could focus on, the only way I could relate to loss.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when author Seanan McGuire mentioned on Twitter that she had inventoried her vintage My Little Pony collection and had some duplicates to cull. I mentioned that I lost my favorite MLP in a fire 26 years ago.
And you know what?
She sent me this.
See, back in the early 80's, there was no internet. They sold some ponies, retired them, and sold some new ponies. By the time I lost Skydancer, you couldn't buy Skydancer. Anywhere.
She was gone forever.
Until now. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Seanan, of someone I've never even met, I have Skydancer again. It's like a tiny little wound in my soul healed, risen like a rainbow-haired phoenix. What is lost can be found.
Before that fire, life felt safe and predictable. Childhood was golden. After it, every storm cloud felt like a threat, like a catastrophe waiting to happen. The world was a sinister place, and I had lost my innocent faith that everything would be fine.
But now I'm soothed. I have Skydancer again.
We're just a big ball of cozySQUEE today, guys.
Some days, I love the internets oh so fiercely.