July 26, 2009 We headed out this morning to go “letterboxing” on a Greenway across from Aspen Grove Park. If you’ve never been letterboxing and you have kids, you should try it. You go to www.letterboxing.org and do a search of letterboxes in your area, or an area you are going to visit. When you select a letterbox to find, you’ll get a clue that contains directions to a box that someone has hidden. You take with you stamps and ink pads and a little notebook. When you get there, you follow the directions to the letterbox and find it. It will usually be a small Tupperware box that contains a little notebook and a stamp. You put your stamps in their notebooks and write a notation saying who you are and when you were there. Then, you use the stamp in the box to stamp your book, put the letterbox back where you found it and go on your merry way. To the kids, it’s like a treasure hunt… they love it.
Our stamps are an elmo stamp for Jake and a Zoe ballerina stamp for Tanner, and we sign all our pages as, “Two little monsters in Franklin” (do you sense some foreshadowing here?). We found a new series of 11 letterboxes that someone had just put out on any easy paved trail in Aspen Grove and thought we would go.
We arrived at the park to find that Tanner’s chain had somehow fallen off the bike in the car. After 10 minutes or so and lots of grease stains, John got the chain back on and we all headed out, excited to find the boxes. We found an owl stamp under a bridge, a heron stamp and elk stamp hidden under trees and a deer stamp under some rocks. The kids were having so much fun. Tanner loved to find the boxes and Jake loved doing the stamping.
That was when I noticed that Jake didn’t smell too good anymore. Bicycle riding and a poopy diaper… a great combination. So, we decide to head back and find the rest of the boxes another day.
That’s when Tanner rides off the paved path and into the grass. When she rides back up on to the pavement, she falls face first. She actually was okay; just a minor knee scrape, but she is shaken up and the chain has fallen off the bike again. I hugged her and she wanted me to hold her hand as we began walking and pulling her disabled bike along.
That’s when Jake decided he wanted to hold my hand, too. Only he can’t, because I have a bike in that hand. So, he lays down in the path and cries and refuses to move anymore. We tried walking away and leaving him, which had limited success, but in the end, John ended up carrying both bikes, while I held both kids’ hands.
We walked all the way back, very slowly, picking flowers along the way. Tanner was tiring at that point, her stamina is amazing, but still not normal Tanner energy.
John and I laughed when we got back to the car. I said, “We took a 2-year-old, a six-year-old with leukemia and a twelve-year-old dog on a bike ride… perhaps this was ill-fated to from the start.”
But, it was still fun, despite the fact that it didn’t end the way we planned. And, we’ll go back someday soon to find the rest of those letterboxes. We’re just thrilled that we can even attempt to do something like this considering where we were just a month ago. Living with leukemia is no picnic, but it can be done. And, it often is better than I ever imagined it could be.