Children’s Diary – July 23
We climbed a sand dune all the way to the top. Whee! Mommy got tired. Whew!
We climbed over one more mountain range, descended into the Willamette Valley and Portland, Oregon to visit our first auditory oral program, the Tucker Maxon School. In existence for 25 years, their program has achieved high accolades for teaching deaf children to communicate orally with the help of hearing aids, lip reading, and speech practice. Although the school offers an excellent program: small classes, 8 – 1 ratio of students to teachers, and trained professionals, we decided that Portland was not for us. Being from sunny Florida, living more than half the year in clouds and rain would be too depressing for us.
Before leaving Oregon we continued west on our diagonal trajectory across the United States, from the Southeast Florida Gulf Coast the Pacific Ocean, our farthest point in the Northwest. First we had to climb over the largest sand dunes in North America to see that ocean, an impressive first for us all.
Everybody bursts from the car. “Hooray! We made it!” I yell.
“Made what? I don’t see anything but this huge sand mountain,” says Trey.
“Well, I mean the driving part,” I laugh. “All we have left is to climb the mountain for our first view of the biggest ocean in the world – the Pacific.”
Nicole looks puzzled as she cranks her head back and stares upward, “There’s water up there?”
We take off our shoes and start what seems to be a short trek, but very steep. Daddy of course is in the lead. I fall back quickly to the end as my quad muscles start protesting. “How can you little kids with short legs be way ahead of me?” I call ahead.
“Oh, mommy, you’re just getting old.” Trey calls back.
I relax, start enjoying the experience. Huge mountains of soft fawn-colored, sand are strewn with a forest of hovering shadowy pines. Sunlit trails show us the way up and through. Kobi and I hold up the rear. His super short legs keep sinking to his stomach in the soft sand. It’s a constant chore of extraction for him to keep moving forward. All of a sudden I hear from above. “Oh my God! It’s gorgeous! We did it!” from Ray. The children are hooping and hollering. I give my locked legs a push for the last leg, and arrive puffing at the peak. ‘We’re Lewis and Clark all over again!” We cheer. Coming out of the pine forest there’s a vast view of nothing but sand swooping down to the immense Pacific, waves crashing on the shore. On the long drive I’d peppered the children with stories of explorers, conquerors, ship captains and wagon trails. With this climb and the incredible view, they get it.