Root Family

Root Family

Jan 28, 2015

Alaska 2013 Trip Day 6: Going Home and Looking Back

Before we left I started feeling kind of panicky.  It is dumb, but I felt like I just hadn't really had a chance to talk with Cade alone and I only wanted to assure him of how proud I was of him and how much I loved him.  Tyler kept urging me to find the time to express myself, he knows me so well.  So I finally just sort of asked Cade right in front of everyone if we could go on a walk or outside for a few minutes together that morning.  

We went in his backyard and I just stumbled through telling him exactly those things I wanted to--I was so proud of him; how the neighbors at the soccer field spoke so highly of him and how his parents spoke so highly of him and his grandparents and his aunts and uncles and his friends.  How cool I thought it was that he worked on the reindeer farm and ran a marathon that summer and backpacked and all that cool stuff he did.  But mostly he was so cool because of how he made people feel, how friendly and kind-hearted he was.  I told him that I loved him and looked forward to many more chances to be together.

Lori and Cade dropped us off at the airport and then we went home.  I wasn't working at the time and I still remember my kids sleeping til 10 or 11 am for a week after we got back catching up on sleep.

In my head I certainly started planning more trips, some where I went there without my kids and we'd go backpacking together, some where Cade was in Utah going to college and he'd go on a desert trip with us, and some with all of our families together, barbecuing, picnicking, whatever.

It had been an emotional trip for me.  And yet I wondered if I hadn't been emotional enough--had I shown him how much I loved him and thought about him all the time?  Had I shown his parents how grateful I was for allowing me to be part of his life?  Had I gotten know as much more about him as I could in that week?  I know I tend to think everything should be meaningful, I crave it, and I get disappointed too easily when I feel like a conversation lacked a deeper connection.  I am constantly seeking that kind of fulfillment and wish I was better at just enjoying life.


After Cade's funeral last January there was a huge gathering at the church.  I saw a group of boys I immediately recognized as Cade's friends, from pictures, stories, and by the devastation on their faces.  In the past week I felt like I had learned so much more about Cade from his friends and family posting to Facebook, on which I had been glued for 9 days totally lost in Alaska.  I started talking to one of his friends and was telling him exactly what I said above--that I had such a wonderful time on our visit the previous summer but I'd left wishing I had learned even more about him.  His friend looked at me and said: "He said the same thing about you."  It warmed my heart so much to hear those words.

I am forever grateful that I got to spend that week in Alaska that summer.  Tyler and I have had countless discussions recounting how I had insisted that we went that summer and how fortuitous it was that we did.  I am forever grateful to Cade's wonderful family for giving him such a wonderful life and for letting us be part of his and their lives, and I look forward to many more visits with them.  I am so grateful to know how much they love him and miss him and what a big part of his whole community he was.

I love poetry and this is one of my favorites about adoption.  I don't mean to discount the role of all of the wonderful men that helped Cade become who he was, but this poem is about two mothers and is just beautiful.  I love to see the pictures of him with Lori and know how deeply he loved her and she him.  Our families will always be connected through him.  

Despite numerous internet searches, I believe the author is unknown:

Legacy of an Adopted Child
Once there were two women Who never knew each other.
One you do not remember, The other you call mother.
Two different lives Shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star, The other became your sun.
The first gave you life And the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love And the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality, The other gave you a name.
One gave you a seed of talent, The other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions, The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile, The other dried your tears.
One gave you up - It was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child And God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me Through your tears,
The age-old question Through the years:
Heredity or environment Which are you the product of?
Neither, my darling - neither, Just two different kinds of love.

Some pictures from my trip last January / early February:

Palmer is still beautiful in the winter.

Cade's organ donor flag flying high at the hospital next to the Alaska and American flag
The organ donor flag his family was given.

Some of Cade's original writing through the school years, his race shirt and medal, his 4-H ribbons for his prize-winning reindeers.

Just a few of the things he loved.

Some more of his hobbies and work.

Cade's latest reindeer, Yukon Buttons, that he got in the fall of 2013

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