Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Oh, The Places You'll Go!"

"You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go…"

~ Dr. Seuss
 Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Sometimes when things get tough you take a walk.  Sometimes when things get really tough you take a very long walk.  This nation's economic downturn was really tough on Brad's newly formed business setting off his 5,000-mile, take-a-very-long-walk, 2012 hiking adventure.  First, he trekked the TeAraroa Trail in New Zealand; followed by the Pacific Crest Trail in the United States; and then the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.   The first two trails he hiked solo, and the third with Yessi, soon to be his wife.   Earning the trail name, Freestyle, Brad learned to "dance", the dance of life.

After a year's sojourn of monumental accomplishment and reflection, plus a recuperating economy, Brad returned to Whidbey Island ready to hit restart.  

Brad jumps for joy on finishing the TeAraroa Trail, NZ


 Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Yessi, soon to be our wonderful daughter-in-law,
Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

(If you're interested in more trail adventures, see Brad's blogging, (2012) and my blogging, (2012).

When Brad was three, I became a single mom.  He and I remained just-the-two-of-us for a number of years.  Yes, others were part of our lives, but we bonded as a twosome.  I was his mom and his friend; he was my kid and good buddy.  Between school and work and home responsibilities, we camped, skied, biked, hiked, kayaked and kicked the soccer ball together.

Brad (middle) riding time trials at Seward Park, Seattle

Celebrating the finish of a week-long kayak outing,
Desolation Sound, B. C.

Coming into this life at high speed, with a 6 hour delivery from start to finish, proved to be just Brad's style -- fast and intense!    As a kid, after a day of hard play he never balked at bedtime.    Asleep in seconds.  Of course, I had help raising him once he reached age five.  Brad got a dog, a beautiful collie, with the money he received for his 5th birthday.  He named his new puppy, Bingo.

Brad & Bingo

 There was a farmer had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-o.
And Bingo was his name-o!

There was a farmer had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-o.
(Clap) -I-N-G-O!
(Clap) -I-N-G-O!
(Clap) -I-N-G-O!
And Bingo was his name-o!

Somehow, entirely on his own, Bingo figured out putting Brad to bed at night was his job.  Curling up on the foot of the bed, he stayed there until Brad was fast asleep.  A short time later here came Bingo, job done, to join the adults downstairs.    I've always said, I don't know how a kid can be raised properly without a dog, and Bingo set out to prove me right.    Bingo was Brad's friend, playmate, protector, sibling and parent.

Brad, Fran & Bingo

I could never have anticipated the depth of my feelings for the 6.8 lb. baby boy who arrived with a rush early on the morning on July 13, 1968.   This little creature was beautiful, warm and smelled like heaven.    I was drunk with happiness.   Being Brad's mom has been a highlight of my life!

Toddler years

College years

Our beautiful Fredley Home was designed and built by Brad, but we all pitched in together.  Working with our adult child was a tribute to the relationships we'd developed and the result is a statement of his creativity and skill in designing and building us the best home we've ever lived in.

Ed, Fran & Brad 

 dbBrad,  Design ~ Build
 Sustainably-Minded Design and Construction

And then Brad brought us more joy, Yessi.

Brad's dad, Barry, escorting Yessi down the aisle

"I don't remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don't even know exist
 until you love a child."

~ Anne Lamott


  1. Hi Fran. I just read your beautiful, loving tribute to Brad. My heart is so touched by your words and all the precious photos you shared. What a blessing it has been getting to know Brad. When we first met, I think we instantly became friends. I perceived a deep kindness and selflessness in him, as well as a love of adventure and zest for life. It is clear to me that you instilled all of those things in him. Well done raising such a wonderful person! Thank you. Debbie

  2. Oh Debbie, how sweet your words. Thank you! Thank you! Fran

  3. What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing such a personal story. - Leslie