Day 14 Concord to Manchester
It felt strange to be home. After being on our own and being self-sufficient it was disconcerting to hear my children ask me things like “what’s for dinner?” and “Mom, do we have any more laundry soap?”
I wasn’t quite ready to make the transition from sojourner back to mom of 6 and so I sidestepped the questions and threw them back to the kids.
“I don’t know what’s for dinner but I hope it’s good.”
“If we have any more laundry soap it’d be near the washer.”
Although Griffin and I had made the decision to continue our walk for the next 3 days, we both knew that we had to take it carefully. A popped blister on his foot meant danger and a twist on mine could very well mean surgery. We just had to be very, very careful.
Just like during our walk, although now in separate rooms, Griffin and I got up with our phone alarms. Downstairs, he dressed his feet while I put on my now four joint braces – both knees and both ankles. I literally looked like the wreck I felt.
I imagined having a conversation with someone who watched me walk down the street:
“Good Lord!! What did you do to yourself???”
“Oh this? I just went for a walk.”
Marc dropped us off where we have stopped the day before and we began our day.
Although there are still stretches of wooded land between Concord and Manchester, we began to see more and more commerce. If we wanted to stop and get food for breakfast we now had a choice (most of it, of course being fast food.)
If we (I) wanted to use a bathroom, all we had to do was walk into a store and use the facilities. No more peeing in the woods for us.
At one point, when I had to use a bathroom *yet again* (“really mom?”) a thought occurred to me and so I did a quick google search on my phone. As it turns out, a common side effect of taking a lot of Motrin is to have frequent bowel movements.
Griffin and I had been on a steady diet of Motrin since we had started two weeks ago. I turned to Griffin in much the same manner that any parent does when they discuss Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy.
“Hey Griff, you know those magic toilets that we kept finding along the way?”
Griffin looked at me, not quite sure where this conversation was going. “Yeaaah?”
“It turns out that going a lot is a side effect of Motrin.” It’s always a difficult thing to mess with the belief system of another person.
“So there are no such things as magic toilets?”
“I’m afraid not, son. It’s time for you to grow up and learn the truth.” I said using my most authoritative parenting voice.
“Shame” he replied.
Today was going to be a bit different from our other days. I had connected with the NH Governor: Maggie Hassan’s office and we were supposed to meet with her in the morning. Her office had heard about our walk and she had a letter that she wanted to give us. We weren’t sure what to expect.
As there was no way, Griffin and I were going to walk back to Concord, Addy decided that she would pick us up, take us to Concord and then return us to where we had been in Manchester.
Griffin, Addy and I walked into the State house, the very same one with the gold dome we had seen just the day before. Marc and I had brought our kids to the State house many times. We walked up the familiar worn marble stairs to the second floor and down the hallway to Gov. Hassan’s office.
We were asked to wait, the Governor will come out and see you soon, we were told.
After just a few minutes, our Governor emerged from her office holding a folder. She told us how important it was that we were doing this and raising awareness about Lyme disease. She congratulated us and shook our hands.
She handed us a letter which read in part:
“On behalf of the citizens of New Hampshire, I want to congratulate you on your Border-to-border New Hampshire walk.
“From the noble mountains that tower over the North Country, to our beautiful lakes and rivers, your nearly 200-mile journey on foot throughout New Hampshire has given you the opportunity to experience what makes the Granite State unique and will inspire residents and visitors.
“New Hampshire has a long tradition of inclusiveness because we understand that when we fully include the talent and energy of all of our people, we all get stronger. Through your journey, you are building on this tradition of inclusiveness by reaffirming that New Hampshire is a beautiful and accessible place to explore, even for those who experience disabilities. Despite your chronic Lyme disease, related arthritis and other orthopedic conditions, you are raising awareness of this illness and demonstrating courage, strength and bravery throughout this journey that will help others to get outdoors and explore this great state despite obstacles and roadblocks that might stand in the way.”
If you ever want to put wings on someone’s feet, go ahead and give them a letter filled with encouragement like that.
(Here’s some information on why we took this trip.)
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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