Monday, October 19, 2009

Write of Passage-The Journey Begins, Part 2

Alright, so we left off with the seed being planted, and the dream beginning to grow. But then what? Well, to be honest, for the next year and a half not much. In the hustle and bustle of every day life, Cote and I only spoke of climbing trees every so often. We threw occasional comments over our shoulders as we passed each other in the hall, and reminded one another that "someday" was still looming somewhere out on the horizon. Sitting down and mapping out an official plan of action never happened, though. There was too much other stuff to do. Cote was knee-deep in her senior year of high school, and I was in deep trying to keep up with what that all meant. Each day was a mini-milestone that needed to be savored, no matter how bittersweet.....from last school pictures, to final float buildings. Cote's last bump, set, spike to her final shot from the free throw line. And for me in particular, watching her come down the stairs dressed for her senior prom, to the moment I saw her walk up the aisle in her cap and gown. With each passing day, I could feel the child-like grasp Cote once kept on my hand, beginning to loosen. She was unlacing her fingers from mine, slowly and gently, one by one, and rightly so. Change was in the air. It fell upon us softly that year, along with the autumn leaves, the winter snow, and the springtime showers.
And one day it hit me.....soon we would become the faded shadows of who we used to be.
With this revelation came the pounding of an invisible time clock in my ear. The count-down was already well underway, to when Cote would be decorating a dorm-size new home and exploring a campus-size new backyard. Before I knew it, she would be out in the world, standing on her own, and making choices without the benefit of her mother's endless supply of unsolicited advice at her disposal. Was she really ready for this?....Was I?
Suddenly “tree-climbing” became crucial. But not just so we could push ourselves 250' up into the air anymore. It was now about a mother and daughter taking a journey that would weave them together, permanently and indefinitely, in a brand new way. A rite of passage that would open our eyes, our hearts, and our voices to what needed to be said, what needed to be felt. We needed time alone, time uninterrupted and time free of distraction, to talk about life, love, relationships, following one's heart, and believing in one's dreams. We needed time to talk about who we really were and who we were going to become. We needed time.
So, our tree-climbing conversations got serious. We quickly narrowed down the “when”--August, 2009. (June was disqualified because of graduation. July because of a family vacation.) The "how" was a bit more challenging, however. I had always assumed we would fly to the West Coast. It would make our trip shorter, easier and much more"manageable." It wasn't until March 2009, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, that I found out Cote had a totally different idea of transportation in mind. She wanted to drive.
"DRIVE?" I said. "Drive to Oregon? Cote, do you realize it would take us 12-14 days, round trip, to do something like that?...Think about it...14 a car...a-lone...with just your mother?"
Her answer surprised me, and then reminded me of what life is truly all about.
"Mom," she said, "It's not about just showing up and climbing a tree. It's about seeing everything there is to see along the way. It's about the journey...what it takes to get there. And I want to see it all. I don't want to miss a thing."
I sat there stunned. Her eyes held such passion and hope and determination. She believed we could really do this. For years I had been encouraging my girls to "fully participate in life everyday." I threw this phrase at them every chance I got, hoping it would stick. Now my oldest was sitting here, telling me she was ready to do just that. How could I say no?
And so, the final piece of the puzzle was put in place; we picked the date of our departure. Sunday, August 2nd, 1:00 p.m. Looking at the calendar, this would give us two full weeks before the next standing obligation in our agendas beckoned us back home. No other formal planning went into this trip, however. That part was intentional. The journey needed to match Cote's free-spirited style as much as possible. Thus, there were no schedules and no "must-dos." We had wiggle room inside this adventure for unexpected wrong-turns and detours, that of course would lead us right to where we were supposed to be. We had our destination. Eugene, Oregon. But how and when we got there was a blank book, all our own. It was wide open and ready for us to fill in, with our very own words and pictures scrawled across every page.
Well, there you have it...the history of how all this got started. It's time now to pack up the car and head west. Before we do, however, let me give you one final and fair warning. From here on out the writing style for this "Write of Passage" will become choppy. Some sentences you read may be complete, others I can promise will not. I'll be sharing straight from my journal.....notes I wrote after long days of driving, full days of "participating." You will be privy to some private conversations, you will view some incredible landscapes, and you will hear some quiet reflections that were taken from the back corners of my mind. I tried my best to capture everything. Every detail, every perspective, every hope, every disappointment, every triumph, every disagreement, every discovery.
It's time for us to get going. I hope you'll come back for the ride.
*End note: This trip did not materialize independently of conversations with Dan, my husband. Many discussions took place prior to Cote and I hitting the open road. Although I left this part out, know that these were important background conversations that held merit and weight. Suffice it to say, I had his blessing before we left. He understood my reasons, and he supported every precious mother/daughter mile.

1 comment:

  1. Jolene! All I can say is WoW! I can't wait for you to write more for us to read. What an inspiration you are. And just think of all the beautiful memories that you both made for each other. I thank Karen for sharing this website with me - and I thank you for sharing your story with us. Linda Lips


Powerful Words

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. ~Kahlil Gibran