Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ever Do We Deserve This Kindness?

The packages rolled in again today. This time from friends and family back home. A great surprise was the wonderful package from the S family. They have sent us a little taste of St Louis. As though we hadn't spent every night pining away for our blessed homeland now we have a cozy reminder of the place we call home. Thank you.

We retrieved the packages, actually Savannah assaulted the front office, upon our return from another adventure into the Phoenix mountain park system. Today we visited the climbs of Piestewa Peak. This lively climb takes you up to the 2600 ft peak. The summit trail gains over 1200 feet in elevation over almost a mile and a quarter hike, this was the trail we chose to follow.
The original name for the rock was Squaw peak, renamed recently for a fallen Native American soldier from the Iraq war. Lori Ann Piestewa was the first Native American woman to die in combat in the military, also the first woman to die during the conflict in Iraq. Those are two terrifically horrible firsts, pray for her family.
We started the day with some confusion and dim motivation. The children were split about the hike. The eldest child decided the hike was not an activity she would like to participate in. The father attempted to coax and encourage her involvement and her brain was stuck on not going. She was 'old enough to stay home' she told the father, 'by herself!' The father knew she had been in the house most of the week with very little action in the great outdoors, the first part of the week rained for three days. The father had made this a priority, they would be outside today! Preparations for the hike were well underway when sabotage set in sourced from the eldest child. She began eroding the camaraderie within the siblings, turning one against another, pushing the right way to grieve the poor youngsters. The father finally drew the line clearly. They would stay home and clean the house. The whole day would be spent cleaning, straightening, bringing an immaculate sparkle to the rooms. The eldest daughter would need direct instruction constantly on what to do and how to do it. She pitched in but held up for only a short time until she ran out of the house.
After an hour things had cooled down, apologies all around and the trip was restarted. We reached the park climbed out and began our walk up the hillside. It was beautiful. Some of the views have become favorites now. We had a walk up to the three quarter mile mark. Sophia hung in strong, Shane even ran ahead moving quickly. At the three quarter mile mark Shane went down hard on his knee.

This was precipitated by a tussle with the father. The father insisted Shane drink some water but Shane refused. He could make it up this mountain without water. After coercing him to take a sip her ran off tripping on the craggy up shoots of rock and landing on his knees. Tears streamed down his cheeks more from humiliation than pain. His knees did take quite beating, bruising right in front of our eyes. He got up and we moved off the trail where we could enjoy our reward. We had packed some of Aunt Stacey's fudge to provide incentive to reaching the summit. The kids expressed a strong desire to turn around and we sat to eat. Sophia stood stating she wanted to press on to the top but the other children were finished with climbing. Any further walking was inviting more dissent in the ranks, so we ate, banked and headed for the bottom.
The down hike was riddled with questions from Shane regarding the third Harry Potter movie he had viewed the night before. 'Why did Professor Lupin have that look on his face and hold his belly when he turned into a werewolf?' 'I thought he was a nice werewolf, are all werewolves bad?' 'When does he turn into a werewolf? Only when the moon is full or all the time?' 'Then why did he have to take medication all the time?' Etc. Between trying not to squelch his habit of curious questioning and lofting Sophia on my arm it was entertaining at the least.
Traci came home from a night with Lisa around seven pm. The frozen lasagna cooked for 35 minutes in the microwave and came out cold in the middle. The father retrieved some milk from the store. Then the Saturday was over.
More presents under the tree.

The excitement here is palpable.

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