It has been just over 3 weeks since we all laid in bed as one family, a family of 6. Now 5 seems odd, probably because it is, but the talk about #6, Dad, can be heard throughout the home. The 10-month transition we all went through to get to this point is probably the most ideal time someone could ask for. Not abrupt, not long and drawn out into years with lots of pain and suffering. The kids have transitioned into this new chapter with amazing strides of growth. Yukon has found his true passion in life and will no doubt help revolutionize the computer industry. He is working on animation projects, working on his third short movie release and just last night talked about starting to code apps for Apple. Magnum is secure in his own world. Him, with longie (his blanket) at his side are unstoppable. His quiet smile says it all. He can run and play with the best of them. Ruger, no need for me to keep the home clean because he is on top of it. He is one of mom's biggest helpers. His dream is to shop all day long to help decorate the home for each upcoming holiday. He does require a lot more of my time and attention, which will lead us to the next paragraph in a minute. Winter, what can I say. Managing Team Winter now requires daily attention to business, especially since race season will start in just a short 3 weeks. Winter is now being fueled by a new internal anger that has started to surface. She will be learning to channel this anger away from her brothers and directly at cancer. If you have not seen the recent LAF (Lance Armstrong Foundation) video, YOU MUST!! I will post it on the side. This is what Winter says about cancer, “I WILL chase you to the end of this earth and stomp you out like you stomped my dad out".
So why this picture that I posted? Many of you know what mountain this is. This won't be the view as we see it, but maybe from Michael's perspective. This is our new home. This will be the kids new stomping ground and playground. This is Mount Hood in Oregon. So many of you are baffled by the move. Did I all of a sudden just decide we needed to move? This was the master plan of Michael and I that dates back over a year, before Michael was diagnosed. We knew we needed a change and Michael needed a new place to grow and spread his wings. ME....to be more able to be a MOM...which now is more true than ever. You can't buy time so you need to create it. A new job was offered to me with impecable timing. Michael was hoping to make the move with us but just two weeks before his passing, finally confessed, "I am not going to make it to the move". Tough words to hear...Prior to that there was never a mention of giving up, quitting the fight, giving in to cancer, backing down. Hospice helped him realize that he was fighting the inevitable and that just letting go is sometimes all right and what is necessary. I think that was the hardest thing Michael has ever had to do. But he did so in the arms of his family, surrounded in love. He knew when it was time to go. If only all of us will have such perfect timing.
So back to the move. Sorry I get side-tracked but sometimes there are things that just need to be said. Michael, more than anything, wanted to make it to the Pacific Northwest. Hunting, fishing, mountains and streams....are you kidding me. It is every outdoorsman's dream. And for the kids...windsurfing, the beach, kayaking, biking and downhill skiing all in the same day! No where else in the US can you do that. We had planned for months to move in April, not knowing what Michael's fate would be. You have to set a goal and move forward despite what is thrown in the path. We set our goal and in two weeks will begin the treck (wagon train to the Pacific Northwest as the kids call it). WHY? you still say. I don't have a list of very many people who would offer to come over at a phone calls notice every other day or night to watch the kids as I get called in to work. Even close family can't guarentee they can ALWAYS be there. Living and practicing medicine in a small town does have some disadvantages and that is the biggest. I have carried a cell phone and pager for a total of 4 years of my last 8 years here. I want to be married to my kids, not a cell phone or pager. This new job entails me working 4 days a week and only 5 days of call (catching babies) a month (TOTAL). With facebook and skype, my kids are not leaving their close friends behind. They are creating a great place for friends to come visit and spend quality time, that includes family. Plus, Salem (the Capital of Oregon) which will be our new home has a population of 150,000 and still has an economy. Biking is the norm for transportation, people are eco-friendly, exercise is visible everywhere. A new 60 million dollar Aquatic Center opens in September 2009. We will be 45 minutes from the ocean, 45 minutes from Portland (airport), 45 minutes from 2 mountain ranges and some of the best year-round skiing. I will teach the kids to salmon fish and Winter will put that new bow to great use putting meat on our table. Need I say more and if I do.....you will never get it and that is OK.
I needed that last paragraph! So many people have been asking us and family members and close friends "Why are they moving?" Now they know..."the rest of the story".
Are the kids excited? Winter and Ruger have had their rooms packed for a week. Magnum has 3 tubs packed with Racoons and that is all he cares about. If you didn't know, he has a collection of over 60 racoons and they are going to love Oregon and all those Douglas Firs. Yukon is packed, just a laptop case in hand, he's good. That leaves me packing the rest. This is all easy compared to what Michael went through. You will never hear me whine....ok almost never.
The kids and I will spend the next few weeks ahead addressing the hundreds of letters, cards, gifts and outpourings of love to our family. Not to mention the hundreds who logged in online from across the US to let us know we have a large extended family in this world who await us with arms open. Many of which we will see in the next year as Team Winter travels across the US, doing what we know best.......Racing, Raising Awareness and Stomping Out Cancer...one step at a time.
Join "Team Winter" and be a part of the inaugral Athletes for a Cure Triathlon at Walt Disney World on September 20-21, 2008 to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. For more details, go to http://www.afactri.com/