We went to Seattle to see our shy, quiet little girl walk across the stage to receive her Masters’ degree in counseling. The bold and beautiful woman she has become is a wonder to watch. The transformation from her childhood to now is amazing and proof of what it means to be led by God each step of the way. She has grown and blossomed. Each step has led to the next and the next, until now as she stands ready to walk others through their own steps in life. Proud doesn’t begin to cover my feelings. I am in awe. It is my greatest sorrow and my greatest joy to watch my adult children struggle and wrestle through life and then land in their desired place. The place where they feel they fit. Parenting is not for the faint of heart, but on days where things come together and you see the fulfillment of some of your deepest heartfelt prayers it is a good, good day.
In addition to the graduation, we had a whole week to vacation together. Almost. All but one of our kids was able to get off work and rearrange schedules to come celebrate. Parents with young kids…enjoy the freedom you have to be together. That goes away when your children become adults. Getting 24 hours together at the holidays is my highest hope now. Even knowing about this graduation 6 months out, we still couldn’t get them all there. However, this is the closest we have come to a family vacation in 10 years. More than one day all together was a celebration all on its own. I only wish Peter had been able to come, too. Hannah was an excellent tour guide, showing us all her favorite spots around Seattle. Now that I have been three times, I feel like I am beginning to know the city a bit, and the surrounding mountains.
We went on a hike to Lake 22 in the Cascades. It was only a 5-mile hike round trip, but it was a climb. I took a million pictures, which do not do it justice…waterfalls all along the way. It was like Raven Cliffs meets Blood Mountain…times 10. I don’t know why I continue to try to document nature…photos never show the true beauty…but I keep trying. My body did great until about half way up, when the nice kept trail turned into a billy-goat path full of rocks and boulders. I have climbed these kinds of paths before, so I knew to take it slow on my ankles and knees. I knew to use my trekking poles and my husband’s shoulders for support. On this trail, however, the rocks and boulders lasted for what felt like years. In actuality, it was probably maybe ¾ a mile. I slowed to a crawl, and have never felt like such an old lady before. The combination of the climb and the rocks had me whining. Fortunately, I was still on steroids from a nasty sinus infection, so my joints didn’t hurt too badly. It was the fear of twisting my ankle or falling on my knee that caused my snail like pace. My family was encouraging me, sweet people they are. 🙂 The young ones would go ahead and then stop to wait on me. Then they would give me a pep talk and move on again. William kept saying, “Mom, you are doing it. How many people do you know who would even attempt this? Not many. You are going and you are doing it!” Bill stayed by my side reminding me that a few years ago I was sitting in a chemo chair thinking I would never hike again.
At the top, I did feel a sense of accomplishment, and the views of the lake and snow-covered mountains were worth it. We had our picnic and enjoyed the lovely rain free day. The trek down, took me even longer. Those of you with knees that do not bend fully will understand why. At the bottom, my legs were mush. I was overjoyed to sit in the car for an hour back to the city.
Because of my slow pace, we were running very late for a party at the Columbia Tower. We had 5 minutes to get changed from our hiking clothes to our party clothes. Fortunately, in Seattle everything, even swanky parties, are casual in dress. It was a matter of taking off the muddy and sweaty clothing for something clean. We jumped back in the car and headed downtown. After finding parking a block down, we made our way to the tower in a hurry to make our time. (They didn’t want everyone to be on the elevator at the same time, so they gave out specific staggered times.) By this time, my legs had set up and climbing the hill in my flip flops proved that my joints were going be sore for the next few days, from the hike.
We made it to the crosswalk right in front of the tower just as the little hand was counting down 5, 4, 3….we were almost at a run trying to make it across in the last 2 seconds before the light changed. There were people at all four corners, some of them crossing, some of them standing waiting on their turn. There was a bus revving getting ready for the light to change so it could deliver its passengers to the next stop. Cars were slowing to a stop on the cross street, as the ones already stopped on the main thoroughfare got ready to spring forward. For a split second, everyone was at a standstill. Except us. We were running. I was trailing behind, as usual, and since my legs were like bricks, it seemed as if I was in slow motion compared to the rest.
What I didn’t realize is the lines in the crosswalk were slightly raised…maybe an eighth of an inch. Not visibly raised, but enough to catch the toe of a flip flop of a woman who could not lift her legs because of hiking all day on rocks. I felt the skin coming off of my left big toe, and it set into motion a most ungraceful chain of events which ended with me face down under a bus…close enough to feel the heat from the engine. I guess the noise my body made when hitting the ground was loud, because when I managed to look up everyone in the surrounding intersection was stopped and staring at me. My tears came quickly, but more quickly came my desire to get out from in front of a bus ready to move, now that the light had changed. My family had turned back to assess the damage to the old woman lying in the street. Strangers were asking me if I was okay and what was hurt. My headband was off, my shirt was askew, my instinct was to GET OUT FROM UNDER THE BUS. My brain was screaming it over and over. My x-ray technologist son was trying to assess if I had any broken bones. I tried to jump up…I use that term loosely…and move out of the street. The crowd who had gathered helped me get to the opposite corner, where a little girl looked on with big eyes full of concern.
By this time the adrenaline was shaking me pretty hard and it was difficult to tell what was hurting. I was simply glad the traffic was moving again. I was no longer the center of attention of the busload of people staring out the windows to see what (or who) was holding up their route. Passersby were still unsure if they needed to move on, or call 911. I think the fact that William seemed to be knowledgeable medical personnel, and he was assessing me one body part at a time, convinced them that I was in good hands and they began to disperse and move along. The little girl told me how loud it was when she heard me fall and she was sorry I got hurt, as her mom waved her on. I wanted to move on too, to erase the embarrassment now flooding my cheeks, but William was having none of it. Pain was beginning to break through the adrenaline rush, so I let him do his job.
My left knee had a knot it in and was bleeding, but I could bend it and put weight on it with no problem. My right knee (the fake one) seemed fine, which led me to believe that somehow, I had twisted to protect it as I went down. Both hands were bleeding from scrapes and my right wrist was already swollen and bruised. My right ribs were sore as well. He checked my head for bumps and thankfully there were none. Of course, the most damage was done to my pride, but that is something that cannot be helped in such circumstances. His focus quickly became my wrist, as it looked the most damaged of all my injuries. He had me move it in all different directions, move my fingers, and decided that for now, it seemed not to be broken. We cleaned up my bleeding parts, and decided I was good to go to the party. We arrived a bit past our allotted time, but were allowed an amazing ride in the newly renovated elevator. I have never ridden in an elevator with a movie in it. At the top, we had a 360-degree view from the highest point in the city. It was amazing to say the least. I could even see the spot where I had fallen, and I wondered if I had been the entertainment for all those in the tower. Hopefully, they were looking out at the view… and not under the bus.