What A Wonderful Day
Wow, so much has happened recently. I will start with the last first. Bill and I just got home from California. Bill’s trip was very short. He flew in Friday evening, February 26, and we flew home Sunday February 28th. It was a dream trip. With my health issues my travel is limited. I have to manage my sleep, my temperature; too warm or too cold, and minor stresses like enough time for connections and eating when I need too. All these seemingly little things when out of balance can cause an Addison Crisis and even though I do carry injectable emergency meds with me it is better not to have to use them, once an ‘event’ starts the meds don’t necessarily stop it without emergency room intervention. All of that to say traveling to Europe is “not in my network”. I know some people with Addison ’s disease manage this but I seem to be one of the people who have more difficulty maintaining balance.
In early January I got an email from Monika that changed everything. Monika is the very first ‘young woman’ that I invested my heart in. Bill and I had learned that we could not have babies by the mid-80’s and we had been rejected by adoption programs for similar reasons, both our hearts were broken but we were still looking for the positive side. We had a high school girl, neighbor helping us at home with a few things and she happened to be living with her aunt for a year. She was from Austria. Astrid told us there were many young people who wanted to come to America to study their English. Astrid helped us to get connected to the people who set these things up and by fall of that year we had Monika living with us.
Monika was very mature for her age and she and I got along great. We took her everywhere and introduced her to all our friends and family. She became family. Monika was 19 when she left us and she came back to visit us once since then, she had just turned 40. Now she is getting close to 50 with a wonderful partner and 2 grown children. They were making an amazing holiday; first to California; Hollywood, the beaches and even the Grand Canyon, then on to Hawaii, the Big island and Maui. On the return from Hawaii they had a day layover in Los Angeles and that is where Bill and I come in. We were going to get to meet her family and spend the day with them. As it turned out the kids were both very sick with the flu, they had been to the doctor and gotten Tamaflu but both were sleeping soundly and they still had the very long flight home to Europe. We had coffee and talked to Anna, Monika’s partner and then she choose to stay at the hotel with the kids in case they needed something. We took Monika and her luggage with us and the plan was for them to meet up at the airport later.
The weather was beautiful and we wanted to do something fun and interesting while we were together. Monika and her family had already done and seen a lot, so I suggested the La Brea tar pits. http://www.tarpits.org/la-brea-tar-pits My cousins had taken me here years ago. I remember my Grandmother was still alive and with us that day. It is truly an ice age fossil, they have been digging in the area for years and years and every day they find more amazing bones from the animals that have lost their lives trapped in the tar. The museum has put together many of the bones and there are woolly mammoth, large saber toothed cat, and giant sloth on display along with animals that are still alive today. There is one wall with over 400 skulls of wolves; being a dental hygienist I could have looked at that one wall for hours, checking out the size and shape of the skulls and teeth, what teeth were sharp, worn or missing. The paleontologists then find small bones in the teeth and stomach of these animals telling us what each of their last meals were and even seeds of the plants they had eaten. They have collected these seeds and others similar and planted gardens around the pits and museum to show what the area must have looked like over 11,000 years ago.
This was all very interesting but really it was the backdrop for a wonderful few hours with Monika, hearing about her family, her work, and her life. She is a beautiful person and we always knew this. It was interesting to hear their experience with medical doctors in the US compared to Germany and their shocking reaction to the cost of medications. We also talked about politics in the United States and how people from other countries are watching this election and whether or not they have the desire to travel here.
Before we knew it the day was over and we had to take her to the airport to meet up with her family for the flight home. It just left a deep longing in my heart for her. I wish we could get together for family dinners. I wish she could see my nieces all grown up. I wish she could meet Tamara and Christopher. I wish we could have meet her kids and spent time with them, maybe they will come to see us someday and know that they are loved also, but mostly I am grateful, what a wonderful day.