my dream vacation.
it has always been one of my dreams to have a place that is just mere meters from the ocean. i had blogged about it a couple of years ago. unbeknown to me, our friend courtney is the property manager of a little ocean front cabin. after reading my post, she surprised us with the gift of a one week stay at this cabin. that was last year – and she graciously has bestowed the gift of another week this year. wow. what an incredible blessing.
we spent this exact same week up here last year. it's hard to believe that it has already been a year. there has been so much change yet so little change. does that even make sense? how do i explain that? graham and i were looking back over the pictures from last year, and we can’t believe how terribly frail parker was.
parker last yearhe played a little but spent most of the time on the couch in the cabin. this year he is so much stronger and has spent at least a portion of everyday able to play on the beach…yet he remains fragile and lives with the relentless joint pain and constant bombardment of bouts of daily periods of “loopiness”.
parker this yearhe’s come a long way…but has a long way to go. a year ago, we were hopeful the worst was behind us - who knew that a mere 3 months later it would be determined he would need to get a PICC and start IV. and who could ever have predicted the psychiatric issues that would grip and imprison him once those iv meds hit the infection in his brain. unimaginable what we’ve lived thru - nightmare after nightmare... just when we thought the worst must surely be behind us, we'd be blind sided by another trauma.
parker, avery, harrison beachcombing 2011
a year ago, we were still reeling from the boys' diagnosis and grappling to come to terms with it. tensions ran thick and there were many moments where i doubted we would make it thru the darkness in tact. there were days when we came together as a family, weeping and holding on to each other for comfort and there have been days when none of us wanted to be around each other. a year ago, taylor wasn't to interested in being home. he was sick. his brother was sick. and everyone was caught up in their own pain and grief. certainly the prospect of spending a week with "the parents" on a remote cabin without internet or TV wasn't too appealing to him. so he opted to stay home. this year, we are all in a better place emotionally. he is doing well physically. so much so that he couldn't come this year because he is working full time. we are healing. this year, he did drive all the way down here to spend a bit of time with us. ok, we also needed him to pick up the dog but still...the closeness is there again. and for that i am grateful. i recognize he is moving on with his life, this is healthy and natural but i am in a far better place when we can all be together. we are not "complete" when someone is missing. i don’t know what lies ahead of us now. we take one day at a time. some days it’s just one moment at a time.
are we stronger? yes. only by the grace of God.
are we intact? yes. only by the grace of God
we live in the here and now, embracing the good moments as they come and squeezing every precious drop out of them. when the bad moments come, we fight our way thru as best we can - often the challenges they present us with feel so absolutely insurmountable that it is all we can do to just exist in a haze until they retreat. so very often the care, love and support of the folks that have come alongside of us in those times has stood out as beacons of light that have helped guide us and encourage us through the murky, menacing waters that far too often have engulfed us. we feel incredibly blessed and amazed by both old friendships and the new ones that we’ve formed along this crazy journey.
we’ve seen an incredible wealth of wild life this visit. last year, parker and i witnessed a profoundly remarkable moment. we were sitting on the beach and all of a sudden, a whale surfaced right in front of us - couldn't have been more than 50 feet away. close enough, that we could feel the spray from it's blow hole misting our skin, see the barnacles scattered along it's body and feel the power emanating from this amazing creature of the deep. we could feel the power of it reverberate through our entire being. it was an outrageously awesome moment. truly a once-in-a-lifetime sort of moment.
hey, that "log" is moving!
no whales this year... however we got up close and personal with an elephant seal. at first glance she looked like a log...a moving log! avery named her alice and she was just hanging out right down the beach from our cabin. that was cool. we visited alice nearly every day.
alice, the elephant seal.
the island is teaming with wild bunnies. we had one rather chunky one come for several visits. avery named him Thumper and declared that Thumper absolutely loved her best in the whole world.
avery and thumper
i'd say she's got a case for that - after all, he let her get close enough to pet him. on the contrary he also bequeathed the same priviledge to parker...
parker and thumperoh, i almost forgot! GARY! how could i forget GARY! i'm sure you are wondering who in the world is gary? he must be pretty special after all he's the title of this post.
is gary another wild animal we named?
gary is a vaccuum.
a vaccuum named gary.
parker couldn't wait to see gary.
like i mentioned at the start of this post, parker spent A LOT of time sacked out on the couch last year. the cabin has a TV but no cable. about the only channels available are the hallmark movie channel (which i was ecstatic about but it made parker gag) and infomercial channels. for some strange reason , parker was completely engrossed with watching them. he spent HOURS watching infomercial after infomercial. he probably earned some sort of MBA or degree in infomercials. by the end of the week, he quite literally could give you the run down, verbatim, on just about every product available.
parker watching gary last yearbut gary, oh gary, was his favorite.
it was pretty hilarious...i mean who names a vacuum cleaner? (ok, that is something we would do) but for 90 minutes, this guy would talk about all the amazing and magical things that gary could do. it just humanized the stupid vacuum. i mean really humanized it! by the end of the week, i was ready to buy one and take it home as a pet!
when we told parker we were getting to go to the cabin again this year, the very first thing out of his mouth was
"YES! i can't wait to hear how gary is doing! i've missed him."
the very first thing he did when we arrived, was grab the remote and start surfing for gary...
GARY, I'M BAAAAACK!