They say that time flies and your children will grow up so fast. It is true. I find it hard to believe that 11 years ago today, I was on a flight to Dallas TX to join Nora and a newly born baby girl. The nurses gave the baby a “nursery name” of “Baby Happy”. Little did they know that the baby would take that name to heart and live it each and every day of her life since.
The memories of that day are still as clear as they were 11 years ago. I can remember dropping off Huck and Millie at friends and then driving off to the airport. Thankfully, the pups were distracted and did not see me pull away, or I would have really struggled driving away while looking into their eyes. I remember keeping in touch with Nora as I sat to catch my flight from Minneapolis to Dallas. I can remember getting off the plane and being picked up at the airport by one of Nora’s friends that she had made through an adoption group. I remember driving north on the interstate to Denton and then pulling off the interstate and into the hospital parking lot.
I remember my legs shaking and heart pounding as we entered the hospital and I got closer and closer to laying my eyes on my new baby daughter. I remember the shock, disbelief, fear, joy and melting of my heart as I held her for the first time. So much beauty, so innocent, but yet so much responsibility. Would I be a good enough father for her? Would she be healthy through the beginning stages of her life? Would she love us as much as we loved her?
Eleven years later, I can thankfully say “yes” to all of the questions that rolled through my head that day. Our family has been faced with many challenges in those past 11 years. More than many families will face in a lifetime, but as I watch that little girl play in the yard with her friends today and when she gives me a big hug and says “Good Night Daddy” at the close of each day, I cannot believe how blessed I am to have the life I have.
None of it would have happened with out the super glue in our family, Nora. She has held us all together through the ups and downs, good times and bad. She watched me cling to life several times while Grace was off being taken care of outside of the hospital with friends and family. She spent many, many nights not getting more than an hour or two of sleep so that I could rest and heal from all of my health issues. She read to Grace every day and every night and that I believe formed the foundation for Graces love of reading books. Grace learned how to be kind, giving and caring for others from Nora. A book could be written about our life’s experiences the past 11 years and would have no problem keeping it’s readers on edge to see what lie in the pages ahead. Perhaps it has already been written in a way, on the entries of this weekly journal.
The book isn’t over yet, hopefully not even close. No one knows how it will end and that is the exciting, scary and fun part.
The past week was a fairly busy one for us. I continue to chip away at getting things done in the shop. Grace has skating on Tuesday and Wednesday and Nora and I each take a day at bringing her down to the MI Tech Hockey arena for that. Early Friday morning, Nora’s two brothers and her nephew came up to spend some time at her brothers place just down the road from us. He had bought a nice little fishing boat to bring up here and use. We are keeping it in our garage when he is not hear and he is going to let us use it whenever we want.
The three of them, as well as Nora went out for the inaugural fishing expedition Friday evening. No fish were caught, but for the four that were on the boat, just wetting a line and being with family was needed. The 4 of them returned to the waters before sunrise Saturday morning and not long after the sun had risen on the eastern horizon, they had a fish on. They were fishing the outer limits of the south entry and managed to land a lake trout while trolling. The fish was landed by Nora, so she got to hold it while pictures were taken on land.
My turn took place Saturday evening. Saturday during the day was a hot day, with temps in the mid-80’s, but by the time we hit the water, it has cooled off nicely, with temps in the 70’s. Only one fish was caught on that trip and it was not by me, but I had a lot of fun just getting back on the water again. I have always loved to be in a boat on the water. I grew up on boats on the inland lakes and some of my fondest memories as a kid are those spent on the lake. I am so excited to use this boat to do lots of exploring of the differing waters of the Keweenaw. It is the perfect size, being small enough to trailer easy enough, but big enough that we all can fit comfortably. Saturday’s fishing trip took me to some places I had never been, the sloughs of the Princess Point area of the Portage Waterway.
We had rain Saturday night and Sunday morning, so Sunday morning was spent doing some work. Nora’s brothers and Nephew helped us clean up the disaster zone that was our garage and in just an hour or two’s time, it was completely organized and clean!
The weather did clear enough Sunday afternoon and evening so that they could fish and this time they took Gracie. While I love to boat, Nora and Grace love to fish and I was thrilled when a picture arrived through a text message of Grace holding her first fish of the season. The smile says it all.
While today is Graces actual birthday, we held a family celebration last night, because the uncles and nephew left early this morning to head back to lower MI. We also invited my brother, so all of her uncles were there. We had Grace’s favorite meal of “Dad’s” bbq’d chicken, fresh green beans and fresh potatoes. Nora baked a nice huge sheet cake for the celebration and Grace handled the candles pretty well!
This morning after breakfast, Grace opened her first present. She got to kneeboard for the first time last summer and could not stop talking about it. So with the boat’s arrival this past week, Nora and I decided she would love to have one of her own. I kneeboarded as a young lad and even through my college years. I am sure I still could if a boat existed with enough horsepower to pull me! My brother who passed a few weeks ago sail boat is arriving next week, courtesy of a great friend, and I cannot wait to introduce her to sailing. I spent hours and hours sailing the waters of Lake Geneva. To me there is nothing better than sitting is silence as the wind propels the boat across the water. Hopefully she will love it as well, and will learn the ropes and take her friends out in the coming years.
I realized a few weeks ago that I had been remiss in not mentioning the newest members of our family. The sled dogs! They are doing very good. There is no longer any friction between them and the the other two. They still are reluctant to play with Bleau, but they really do not play much with each other. Perhaps it is because they are senior citizens or just that they were mainly work dogs. In either case, they are happy and love being outside. They still are marking the house when given free run, so we are working to break that habit. We have also learned that they love to pick at Nora’s garden as much or more than the other dogs and that they both can run extremely fast! Especially Dune. When he puts on the after burners, he can outrun Bleau, even tough Bleau’s legs are about 2.5 times as long and he is no slouch in the running department.
So I guess that about covers it for this one. Have a great rest of your week and be safe!
Good Night from the Keweenaw..