It was a big summer, it was also a short summer. We knew it would be filled with LOTS of personal growth for both Luke and Lily and it proved to be so true.
Our highlight was a two week visit to the State of Maine. Spent between Grandma’s lake house and a trip to Baxter State Park. I could go on and on with observations, the hours Luke spent looking for frogs, the solo kayaking missions, but one particular adventure speaks to me regarding Luke’s perseverance.
During our stay in Maine we had planned at trip to the top of Mt Katahdin, the tallest peak in the state, in Baxter State Park. The trip included a small group of family and there had been lots of thinking about the “what if’s”, such as what if Luke needs to turn back, where will we meet, etc. There is no cell reception in Baxter State Park, where Katahdin resides. It is a very rigorous climb, especially above the timber line. It was always part of the plan that Lily and I would not even attempt the ascent, spending our day on a pristine lake with no one but frogs. So it was important that we had a plan on where and how to meet.
I guess all that needs to be said is that Luke not only climbed the mountain, but was pretty much in front the entire time. When the adults returned to civilization uniformly “plastered” and could barely walk, Luke, when asked if his legs were sore, merely said, “Not really”.
This was one of the first times that I have had the experience of Luke dramatically surpassing my expectations. Which filled me with awe, love and of course admiration. I now think this may be a feeling I will have to get used to more and more as Luke’s confidence and resourcefulness blossom.
Like all the endless clichés of parenthood: “your life will change when you have kids”, “you can never love anything as much as your own child”, letting go is going to be a brutal one.
Because it was Maine, and because it was Katahdin, and because we were with family, the true story of a twelve year old boy that was lost on that exact same mountain in 1939 came up. Grandma loaned us a signed copy of the book “Lost on a mountain in Maine” by Donn Fendler. At first Luke had no interest, I think the cover was a bit off putting to be honest, but when we got home we started reading it all together in the evenings, a few chapters a day and he really go into it.
It is wonderfully simple book, told through the eyes of a twelve year old boy who so simply moves forward day after day after day with virtually no survival skills. Unbeknownst to him, hundreds of people searching for him day and night, and ultimately assuming he had perished. So when you finally get to the place ten days later where he sees another human being, half naked, covered with sores and bug bites, his feet in tatters (he had lost his shoes on day one) and having lost 13 pounds, it is impossible to not be deeply moved.
Interestingly enough, Donn Fendler recently passed away and there is a proof of concept for a movie version of the book. Sometimes the timing of things in life are so wild!
Our summer vacation was topped off by a cancelled flight that lead to a free first class upgrade. On both legs of the journey, Luke got the prime treatment from the airline folks.
On the JFK – LA we were in sleeper seats (first time for both of us) after watching a high end, super fancy-cool DJ guy wait in line at Priority boarding for over an hour, even I was taken aback when the gate check person came straight up to Luke and said “How would YOU! (yes pointing) like to be the first person on the place and meet the crew?
Well, here it is:
I dont remember two, three, four very much. But, I REMEMBER seven!
It was a truly wonderful summer vacation.