It feels SO GOOOOOOOOD being back in MN. We love this place so much. It is our second home for sure. We flew in yesterday, had a couple of calamities along the way ( I thought I left my phone on the plane, they ripped both wheels off my golf bag luggage, and we almost couldn't fit all our stuff in the car when our friend Amanda came to pick us ip from the airport! ) Add a few more things we realized we forgot (we mostly meaning I) and the day was fine! LOL.
Our good friend and Team Bella 2nd Prize Winner, Amanda Schauer, picked us up, brought us back to her home to spend the first night in town at. She and her husband Bryce ordered pizza for us, let us spend the night, then lent us their car for a WEEK. Could they be any sweeter? Oh, and Bryce let me borrow a sport coat and extra flip flops (remember the additional items I remembered I forgot? - that's a funny line... I remembered I forgot...). We had a blast with them, their beautiful 15 month old daughter, Cory, their two dogs, Barack and Michelle (no, really.), and their cat, Jones (yes, I amped up the allergy meds). Jones is hilarious. He is a dog trapped in a cat's body. Totally, outgoing, social, he talks with you, and makes prolonged eye contact. Wish I wasn't allergic to cats.
Today, we returned to our dear friends, Bob and Lynne Boschee's cabin at the lake up north in Nisswa. When we arrived, it was 55 degrees, windy, and misty. Not fun, but that didn't stop Ali and I from IMMEDIATELY jumping on the jet ski! We were so committed to getting in the water no matter what, that we even wore our swim suits under our clothes on the ride up! Well, we weren't on the lake long before Ali wanted to go back, and after a few jumps off the dock myself, I could no longer feel my ears, so it seemed like a good idea to get inside, get dry, and get warm!
Ali and daddy showing off our swimsuit undergarments...
We hit the quaint little town of Nisswa for some shopping and some errands, and by late afternoon, the sun came out, the wind died down and the temperature rose. I was back out on that jet ski in my SECOND pair of board shorts. Oh, yes. I brought back ups. I knew I'd only get one afternoon to ride. Last summer, we visited in August, when Bella had been in the ICU for about a month. The stress level was a ten out of ten. Riding that jet ski full boar across that lake, I released every ounce of stress I had in my body. Nearly one year later, when I hit that water on my own with the sun finally shining across the lake in the early evening, I left as much grief and pain as I could. It felt so great.
This brings me to a quick point. I have noticed that sometimes, I very clearly choose to use a specific activity as catharsis for my grief. I find that when I do, I really let the flood gates open, and while it is often a very powerful, moving, and often painful experience, it facilitates a nearly immediate release and overall relaxation and re-calibration of my stress tanks. I think it is really useful to DIG IN TO THE GRIEF in a conscious manner as often as necessary. Don't just pack it down hoping time will heal the grief. BIG MYTH. Since I know I need to release all that intense emotion at some point, it has really paid to pick and choose where and when that happens. It doesn't mean I am in control of my grief; it pops up when it wants, but I am convinced that because I do actively work on it, the times that it does pop up are less often, less intense, and less long. That's just my two cents so far, but figured it might be worth sharing.
We also took a peaceful boat ride around the lake before supper, followed by Ali and I fishing for sunnies off the pier. We caught 3 fish! I was using Lynne and Bob's boys' "spongebob squarepants" fishing pole, so Ali worked the net so when I pulled the fish out of the water, she immediately got that net under the fish. We got the fish back into the water within about 30 seconds each time, so it was comparatively painless (I hope) for the fish. The funniest part was that I was all concerned I was traumatizing these fish. Well, the big, fat sunny we caught was the FIRST fish chasing the line when I threw it back in! It was hilarious! I then figured sun fish probably don't have the most sophisticated memory out there.
It was a great day altogether, with tons of laughter, a little scolding here and there, but mostly just a really good time between friends and their families. We are so grateful to have the Boschees in our lives.
Alright, I'm probably forgetting something I'm supposed to talk about, but since I'm always the last up, and don't go so far as to write down a to-do list of topics for the blog, good stuff remains in obscurity for sure. Sorry about that.
Wow. We have SO MUCH going on between now and Sunday night's post! Tomorrow, we have a meeting at CCRF where we'll be unleashing more of our 3 year plan, and we also have dinner with the Hageboecks - the founding parents of Children's Cancer Research Group - tomorrow night! We are so excited and honored to meet them and share a meal with them. Their story began very much like ours, and 30 years and tens and tens and tens of millions of dollars later raised for leukemia research, their lives have become a living testament to the legacy we seek to leave behind in honor of Bella. We can't wait to be in their company and learn just a fraction of the wisdom they contain.
Stay tuned for a big update Sunday night as well! Much love, respect, and gratitude goes out to each and EVERY one of you reading this right now wherever you are, whenever you are! Thank you for walking this journey with us. YOUR presence has caused so much of the good stuff you've read about. Thank you again.
Bella Rocking her two keyboards...