Friday, May 27, 2016

This chapter is over

   Yesterday we drove 6 hours arriving at EWU at midnight to watch our daughter compete in the 2B State Track Finals in what would be her last high school sports competition. Her relay team took 3rd in districts a week ago. We had high hopes for a podium photo op. Sadly it was not to be. A bad hand off on the 3rd leg cost too many valuable seconds. They took 4th in the preliminary heat and 9th overall missing finals by less than a second and a half. High School athletics are over. Mandy and I are heading home by way of an overnight stop at a favorite vineyard.  We have had a good cry. Graduation is next Saturday completing this chapter of our lives together. It has been a wonderful, exciting, frustrating, and sometimes hilarious 12 years. Michaela has been the center of our world. She has hung in there despite the trials of small town politics. In Toutle you are an outsider until you have a road named after you. She never gave up even when not having the right family name meant less playing time or being overlooked because some other girls mother played for the coach 20 years ago. Not only did she not give up but she excelled and proved her metal. God we are proud. Even when she was treated like an ousider she showed up everyday. 

Varsity volleyball 4th in state 2015-16

 Varsity basketball 4th in state 2015 Toutle lake high school!

District track finals 3rd place. 4x200

   Today a new chapter of our life begins. Mandy and I have a void of excess time and energy to fill. For the first time in our life together it will be just the two of us. Today Mandy drove the camper for the first time as I rode shotgun. She crossed the Columbia River at Vantage during a high wind warning. It was a white knuckle ride. Prior to the State Finals we found out they only took cash at the gate. While I sprinted across campus to the ATM and knowing Michaelas event was about to start, Amanda just got in a crowd and walked through the gate without a ticket. I am so proud. I am going to like this woman.
   I was a part-time dad when my adult children were in high school. I missed a lot. Having this opportunity to raise Michaela has been fulfilling and actually gave me a shred of compassion for my ex-wife. Teenagers are a handful.
   Cancer can kiss my ass. My life is full and wonderful. I'm not leaving until I am good and ready or until God tells me I am good and ready. Mandy and I have memories to make. We started as soon as we left the State Finals. We told Michaela goodbye, jumped in the camper and headed to a favorite vineyard 3 hours away stopping only to explore a couple other vineyards along the way we had never been to. We shared a bottle of wine as the sun set and then headed west on a mountain pass we had never travelled. We stopped and camped along the American River and fell asleep to the music of the water singing as it tumbled through the gorge. 

 American River Chinook Pass WA.

Naches Hieghts winery and tasting room, Naches WA.

We are home. Michaela will be home tomorrow. We will spend this week prepping for graduation. Michaela has admissions testing on Tuesday. Life is good. 
  Tonight we will raise a glass to  wonderful memories and new beginnings. Yolo