Thursday, March 29, 2012

Death by Great Wall - Revisited

There I am.  Limping up the Great Wall of China.  Living my dream.   I wrote about it back in 2010 in a post called "Death by Great Wall."

Arriving at the Great Wall that day, our guide said, "There are two ways up.  One is steeper, but the view is better."  Without a pause, both Mike and I said, "We'll take the hard way."

At that point our guide smiled and said, "I'll be waiting for you, right here at the bottom.  Take as long as you like."  She, obviously, had been there before.

Off we went.  . .with our seven year old, newly adopted son. . .  the little wild man who didn't speak English.

Off we went.  Up a very steep, never ending staircase.

Off we went -- and then, off they went as Mike and Wenxin quickly left me behind.  I knew it would be hard, but this was ridiculous.  I couldn't breathe.  My legs wanted to stop working.  Eventually, I began taking sit-down breaks; I took one about every twenty steps. 

Wenxin kept calling for me.  He was fine -- fine enough to keep running up and then back down to check on me and then back up again.  A leathery old Chinese man chuckled and explained in Chinese, "Mama lei le."  Translation:  "Mama's tired."  Then, Wenxin snapped the best photo of the day -- me --putting one foot in front of the other, almost slain by the Great Wall of China.

In the end, I didn't die, and I got a photo that will make me smile for the rest of my life.  It was totally worth it.

Looking at that photo again today, I noticed something I hadn't seen before.  Even though, I didn't get as far as I wanted, and even though I was literally dragging my aching body up each step at that point, look how far I'd come.  We started out way down there at the bottom.  Look how far we'd come.

When I think about our family's journey it's a lot like that trek up the Great Wall.  Mike and I are quick to say, "We'll take the hard way," when we think it's worth it.  Then we end up doing crazy things like homeschooling or adopting an older child, even though we're getting older ourselves.  

Today, I reminded myself, to peek back over my shoulder and look how far we've come.

The hard way's usually worth it -- if it doesn't kill you.

I see a new post in my future.  It's called "Death by Homeschooling." 



  1. It's a journey for sure. Wonderful picture showing the valley. One very brave mama.

  2. I love reading about your journey! Inspiring & honest for those still at the starting line!

  3. Love this post! Just home with our newest additions 7.5yo boy and 21mo girl, both from China. So far so good with my total of six kids...except for the homeschooling part! I will get there the hard way! (with God's help). Thanks for blogging.

    1. Oh bless your heart. I'm sure they are all learning tons. Hang in there!