Cade's family lives actually in the outskirts of Palmer in an area affectionately known as "The Butte," after its defining natural feature. Hiking the butte is a pretty regular thing there so we didn't want to miss out. We were able to leave our younger ones at the house with Lori and quickly hike up the butte to enjoy the views.
(this picture was actually taken our last day there--you can tell it was much cloudier)
|Caiden on top of the butte|
|(In the distance in this last picture from the top of the butte where the sun is is the Knik River, and beyond that the Knik Glacier)|
We hurried back to the house so that we could meet up with William's family at a cabin at Big Beaver Lake. At the lake William's parents had organized a carnival for their grandchildren, with some fishing games, duck races, shooting, etc. Bailey and Waylon had a blast getting tickets and choosing prizes.
Soon after this we got in our swimsuits to play in the lake. I kind of feel like I ignored my own children that entire day--were they just being amazing or was I oblivious? Anyway, I had fun watching Cade with his extended family and meeting more of them! Then Tyler and Cade were taking turns riding a little bike off of a jump at the end of this dock and I loved watching them. I imagined us all hanging out at different times in the future--more trips to Alaska or meetups in Utah to play together outside and show each other what we love.
I loved talking to Lori on that dock and during this whole trip who told me so much more about Cade than he would tell me and who was so encouraging in nurturing this relationship and so loving towards me. What a beautiful place it was to be making these memories! And seriously, what a beautiful Alaskan July day was this!
Later we all got in Cade's uncle Jake's boat for some water sports. Cade did some wake-surfing and was really good at it. Tyler and I both wake-boarded. I was seriously wimpy about getting in the water and then it wasn't even that cold!
|Here's these two handsome teenage boys I would love to know / have known better and have a deeper relationship with--Caiden and Cade|
|Caiden and Waylon, Cade, Ellery, and Bailey|
|Never thought I'd be wakeboarding in Alaska!|
|I had already forgotten how little he was that summer! Don't you just love sleepy little boys!|
Placing Cade for adoption in 1998 was one of the smartest things I've ever done however painful it was. I've seen what a good life he has and this trip allowed me to see more of it and what a wonderful extended family he had as well to support him. They love him so much, and I'm proud and bewildered that he actually did have many of the same interests as me, and had that intense desire for a meaningful, driven life. This day was one where I really felt like I got a better peak into who he was and I loved it.