Friday, March 9, 2012

Echota Archeological Dig

Of all of the field trips our homeschool trip has done over the past few years, this one has to have been, by far, the coolest. So, right off, I have to send a great big THANKS! to Scot and Grace for setting this up. The kids had a blast (I think the moms probably enjoyed it, too), and I am sure they will remember this day for a long, long time.

We arrived at the dig site near New Echota Historical Site a bit early, as did a couple of other families. So, our host, Scot, who is in charge of this dig site (and a good friend), showed us around a little before the educational portion started. (This dig is part of an environmental impact study being conducted prior to relocating an existing road; they basically want to be sure there is nothing archeologically significant in the area where the new road will be).

Scot in a ditch.

As you can see, the site was muddy. It rained the night before, and ditches dug into that infamous Red Georgia Clay tend to hold water really, really well. For a long time.

William's muddy shoe.

All of the kids were looking around on the ground for artifacts, asking Scot again and again, "Is this something?" "Is this something?" "Is this something?" He was very patient.

Not Something. A grub. Michael wore his "archeologist" gloves.

Little Man did find something: a bit of a broken plate down by the river.

Once the rest of the group arrived, the real tour began. At this point, KitMama took over our combined crew and the camera (more on that later), so my descriptions are going to be a bit sketchy.

Scot explaining about a trench.

A very serious Pirate Man.

Very serious Little Man and Michael.

Buddies screening for treasure.

Thomas and friends getting an explanation of the yellow thingy on a tripod.

An actual artifact, that was actually logged and bagged!

Three Diggers in a trench.

He had to find the muddiest trench...

...but came up with an artifact! A heating stone.

No artifacts in there. Just mud and water.

And a friend offering a stick to help pull him out.

This is the kid who, when another mom sees him, causes her to smile, and with a satisfied sigh, say to herself, "Not my kid."

I am often amazed at how deeply engaged Michael becomes when exploring something new, whether it is an archeological dig, or Billy's music studio, or building an invention of his, or planting seeds. Other adults who have interacted with him have made similar observations of his desire to understand everything there is to understand about a thing. He jumps in with both feet, digs in with both hands, and doesn't come up for air until he's completely satisfied.

Anyway, after immersion in the dig site, kids were stripped down, cleaned up, redressed, and we all drove the short distance up the road to the New Echota Historical Site. We all had a quick picnic lunch in our cars (it was chilly and very windy there), and then went into the museum.

The museum part of the Historical Site is compact and interesting enough to hold the kids' interest (Michael: "Look! An Indian rifle!" "Look! An Indian axe!" "Look! An Indian book!"). The Ranger was very nice, and set up the short informational film for us to watch when we were ready.

Then we headed outside to see the buildings. (Okay, we headed for the restrooms, then to see the buildings). I was pretty much left in the dust by the hoard of kids who literally ran across the acres of land that once contained the Capitol of the Cherokee Nation, eager to see all of the old and/or reconstructed buildings. So, I took a bunch of pictures of old and/or reconstructed buildings, and no pictures of people. (I won't post all those pictures here, since I'm sure you've all had an eye-full by now.) I have to say this is one of the few "historical-ish" places we've been to where I felt completely comfortable letting the kids have the run of the place to explore to their hearts' content, without worrying that some "official" would be zipping up in their little golf cart telling the kids not to climb on the railings or some such. It is definitely worth going to see, especially if you've got kids.

And, if you'll bear with me for a moment longer, I just have to reiterate that we have the absolute most wonderful group of friends we could ever wish to have (all of them just happen to be part of our homeschool group....convenient, isn't it?). Not all of them were able to make it to this field trip, but enough came to make it the roaring success that all of our adventures inevitably turn out to be. Our grown-up friends are interesting, engaging, accepting, patient people who actually like being around kids and interacting with them. Our kid friends are fun, confident, helpful, who actually like being around grown-ups and genuinely interested in the world around them. Who needs "socialization" when you're surrounded by people like this?

We live a blessed life.


Now, if you don't want to be bummed out, don't read the rest of this. Big D makes it's unwelcomed presence known.


So, the reason I handed the camera over to KitMama for the educational portion of the dig is that I didn't attend that part. Neither did William. Because he had another unexpected diabetic "episode." The third in two weeks. The second time cold weather seems to have made his BG drop rapidly. (I'm just taking a semi-educated guess at the cold weather thing, since I haven't been able to come up with another explanation).

Just as we were getting ready to head into the site, William started "feeling weird"; nausea and fuzzy-headed, edgy and moan-y; usually a sign of a low coming on, or a very high high. He had just eaten, with no insulin (I wanted to avoid another episode of rapidly dropping BG), so I thought he would be fine. But, nope. Not fine. I checked his BG; 20 minutes after eating with no insulin, his BG had dropped. I had him eat again, and he calmed down. Did another BG check after about 1/2 hour, and corrected. By then he seemed to be fine. Just when I was wondering if we should try to go find the group, a couple of shivering kids joined us in the car, so there we stayed until the rest of the group finished up and returned.

It's been almost three years since William's diagnosis. During that time, we, as a family, have done lots of cool things. We have taken a month-long camping trip across the country, attended a "hippie" music festival, gone boating and fishing, and stayed active with our homeschool group, in addition to just living a "normal" family life. We have not let diabetes stop William, and our family, do whatever we want to do. I keep insisting that diabetes is not going to stop William from doing what he wants to do.

But the fact is, there are going to be times when diabetes does exactly that. He's going to have "episodes" that prevent him from participating. He's going to have to stop what he's doing to correct a high or a low that is interfering not just with his ability to enjoy an activity, but interfering with his ability of function. And there's nothing I can do to prevent those episodes. All I can do is treat them when they happen, and eventually teach him how to treat them on his own.

Today reminded me of American Olympic cross-country skier, Kris Freeman. Kris was the first individual with Type 1 Diabetes to compete in any Olympic endurance event. He had proven his abilities in numerous national and international competitions, and he had a pretty good chance of medalling during the 2010 Winter Olympics. But, despite being one of the best-trained, best-prepared atheletes in the world, a completely unexpected blood sugar crash during a race left him lying in the snow helpless, until a German coach rushed over and gave him some emergency sugar. After a couple of minutes, he was able to get back up and finish the race. In 45th place. But, he did finish.

Despite my best efforts, diabetes is going to sometimes prevent William from doing what he wants to do, and that sucks. But, I hope that, like Kris, he gets back up, brushes himself off, and goes on with his life.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't be a prouder Father and Husband than I am, as lovingly described in this post . . .

    I love you, both! <<3>