Monday, September 24, 2012

Opening the Door to Home

"Son," he said. "Grab your things, I've come to take you home." - Peter Gabriel, Solsbury Hill

I've just opened two emails. The first is a huge attachment of paperwork outlining everything from school goals to personal hygiene recommendations. The second is an airline ticket. Correction: two airline tickets.

This swirl of information comes just as I finished rearranging the furniture in the house and my office. I needed to do something other than write or think about what the next few months will hold for us.

It is good. It is also overwhelmingly frightening.

My heart going boom, boom, boom.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Elituq: She Has Learned

Nearly 700 times I've sat down at my desk and written about our life in Alaska; the joys, sorrows, and moments of awe that come from living in a place so far north. Many things have been unexpected, and many, downright painful, but like the Athabascan term for which this blog is named, all have led toward a deeper understanding of my life, and that of my family's.

I began Elituq: She is Learning after I made the decision to leave my part-time job as communications director for a local agency serving individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. It was the right decision; Wolf's behaviors were escalating to the point where my support group facilitation skills were being overshadowed by my own need for periodic emotional rescues. I wanted to write about Alaska, too, and had an opportunity to do so, opening doors through which I have happily walked. This blog was a lovely, comfortable fit for me to share a peek into our world for family and friends who live so far away.

As the months went on and it became obvious Wolf was in need of assistance we could no longer provide, blog posts turned into a means of communicating the difficult decision of transitioning Wolf from our home to residential treatment Outside. I suppose it was both a crutch and a means of support to be able to network with other parents and write words I didn't have the courage to speak over the telephone to my own family.

In the four years since, Elituq has meant different things to different people; a means of keeping tabs on our busy life, and a way to see how Alaskans temper personal feelings for the necessary actions regarding medical care.

We've all grown during these seasons of my musings; Yukon, Bear, and Wolf, perhaps most of all. It is time for all of us to move on to the next phase of our lives, and it is at this point I feel Elituq: She is Learning has served its purpose.

One of the most important lessons I've learned as a writer is knowing when to end the story. Perhaps you have been lifted up by a particular blog post, or photograph, or a link to some of the other fantastic blog friends I have come to know, and one in particular who has known me almost my entire life.

My writing continues, but with a different focus. It is time, and it feels right. And I thank you for reading; my world has been enriched.


*The blog will stay active for a while, for those who wish, as I have these past few weeks, to go back and read how it all started.* 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Where I've Been....Lately

The image above reflects what I've been up to this past month. Lots of growth on the business front has led to an expansion of my website, AKontheGO, and all the "stuff" that goes along with it.
Not a marketing professional by any means, I've been clumping along, trying to figure out a launch date and a launch party without actually launching myself into space. It's mostly worked.

But it's been a challenge, too, making new decisions, the biggest of which is reflected in the new logo above. You might notice someone is missing from the image. It was indeed purposeful, but painful, to not include Wolf in the new family travel logo. Many reasons, mostly practical, not personal, but still ultimately difficult.

I haven't written about Wolf lately. So much is going on in his world, and a lot of his story just continues round and round and round, like a broken record, and frankly, it is a bit draining to make the effort of describing it in words. But rest assured he is still learning in carefully-planned phases, still arguing and erupting occasionally, and still manages to make me laugh one second and screw up my face in frustration the next. It's his world, and ours, and we're moving through it as best we can.

It's a time for growth and change all around.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Selection and the Service

In the mail today, one letter in particular stood out to me. A plain, white envelope, clearly marked with Wolf's name, with a return address that surprised me just a little, even though it probably shouldn't have.

It was from the Selective Service. Another adult requirement, another explanation, but one that might actually yield a positive result. With such a strong paternal family history of U.S. Navy service, and with Wolf progressing, however slowly, we might be able to leverage Wolf's registration (he and Therapist J registered back in January) as an incentive plan.

Yukon and I met a wonderful couple who is serving on the commissioning committee of the USS Anchorage with us. He is the Navy League representative, and she is his dedicated partner. Both were valuable resources, and wonderful encouragers of our son. Today, I went and bought Wolf a copy of the ASVAB study guide for Wolf (the military assessment and aptitude test). While Wolf is waiting out his remaining high school time, this will be a great activity to prepare him, or at least, give him an option of preparing, for his future.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

God Bless the U.S. Navy

Yukon and I are sitting in the San Diego Airport at this hour, waiting for our return flight to Alaska after an insightful weekend in southern California.

As distinguished guests (that doesn't happen very often in my world) of the Commissioning Committee for the USS San Diego's entrance into the Pacific Fleet, Yukon and I, and four other Alaskans were privileged to attend ceremonies over the past four days.

Why? Just so happens that Alaska will get her own ship, the USS Anchorage (LPD 23), to be christened in April, 2013; both Yukon and I are on the committee responsible for making it all happen. We traveled to San Diego this weekend to see how this should look.

With a strong Navy tradition in Yukon's family (his father was in the submarine service from 1942-66), it was a memorable opportunity to see the pomp and circumstance surrounding such an event through the eyes of a Navy veteran's son.

The sun shone, the flags snapped sharply in the sea breezes, and strains of 'Anchors Aweigh' filled the morning air.

Monday, May 14, 2012

We'll Let Go the Dark...

It's no secret that this blog has for years represented an extension of my inner thoughts concerning Wolf, Bear, Yukon and I. Mostly, anyway.

But lately...well, lately blogging about Wolf has become less an outlet than a chore, but something, I recently found out, that is not all bad.

Wolf is still struggling mightily; some violent episodes of self-harm a few weeks ago left everyone involved scratching our heads and wondering what, if anything, could we do to help he and we survive the rest of his life. Of course I only slightly panicked at the idea of nobody in Alaska accepting Wolf for independent living, and of course I managed to pull it back together when Therapist J. called to run down the latest laundry list of odd behaviors.

But here's what happened, next.

Therapist J., a longtime professional in the world of troubled teenage boys, said something that probably should have been said four years ago when Yukon traveled 3,000 miles to deliver Wolf to the first residential facility.

After calmly stating the most recent incidents, and reiterating his belief that Wolf is indeed choosing many of these behaviors and not exibiting an organic reason for them, Therapist J was silent for a second on the telephone in Colorado. Then he said, "It's time to focus on what you have there, and let us focus on him, here. Wolf is safe, he is loved, he is cared for, here. What you need to do now is let your husband love you, care for you and your other son, and let go."

Let go. Let it go. Let him go.

My life has been defined by the past, present, and future of Wolf, and someone just offered me a gift of doing all the worrying and fretting and hand-wringing for me. Focus on what is good, and let them deal with the bad.

Love Wolf as simply as that, because finally someone told us they have our backs.

Amazing, and freeing. It will be interesting to see where this takes Elituq: She is Learning.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Avoiding Monday.....

For your viewing pleasure, here are some photos taken from our fabulous, sunny, and otherwise wonderful Alaska weekend. I do not wish to discuss Monday, and therefore will pretend it is Tuesday.

Yes, that is a young moose peering through my deck rails. He and his very patient mama arrived in our front yard minutes after our return home from a great day (ironically) wildlife watching in Seward. He walked right up to me as I kneeled on the deck in order to get these and other great shots.

Ah, the wild life.