Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mayo Clinic, Historic Fort Snelling, and My Son

As a mother of four, it's a rare treat to spend an entire day alone with just one child--but that's exactly what I did yesterday. Sadly, it was at the cost of a doctor's appointment, but we made the most of it.

Our three other children went to Grandma's house, and I took our youngest son to a follow-up appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Thankfully he's a healthy, happy little boy. I blogged about his surgery at Mayo two years ago here. When we received the letter from Mayo telling us it was time for his two year appointment, I could hardly believe it!

This picture was taken two years ago
on the day of surgery.
Here was his thumb before surgery.
Our son was born with a "double thumb," or bifid thumb, which means he had two fingers growing out of the middle joint on his thumb. He had surgery to remove one of those bones, and besides a scar, it's almost impossible to see that anything was done to his thumb.

The two of us left our house at five in the morning to make it in time for his appointment. It was a long drive, but he slept some of the way and when he wasn't sleeping, he asked about a hundred questions. The questions were about life in general, which I answered as best as I could. His favorite question lately is: "How do you know?" To which I answer: "Because I'm much older than you."

He was fascinated by the whole process.

Part of his appointment required taking pictures
of the thumb to watch its progress as he grows.

As we waited in the children's waiting room to be seen by the doctor, I was reminded of all the children who suffer in this world, and their parents who suffer along with them. It breaks my heart every time. There were children curled up in wheelchairs, children with no hair, children with oxygen tanks, and so many more. There were moms and dads holding thick file folders, and ones who were called back by a doctor to hear a prognosis, and others just sitting there holding their babies tight against their chests. When we go to Mayo, it reminds me to be so thankful for my healthy children and to pray for those who are battling for their lives.

He loved looking down on the "little" people
from the 16th Floor of the Mayo building.

After my son's appointment, we met with a fellow Minnesota author, and friend, Erica Vetsch! Talk about a treat. :) Erica's stories will be included in the two novellas with mine next year, so we had a lot to talk about. My son did an amazing job being patient while we chatted--probably because he was allowed to play with my phone. :)

Here we are at Newt's in Rochester.
After our visit with Erica, we left Rochester behind. But I didn't want our day to end there, so my son and I stopped at Historic Fort Snelling in St. Paul. We had fun working at the fort, and watching the cannon and muskets fire. We also had fun climbing stairs and looking out peepholes. The fort is amazing, and every time I go there, I discover something new.

Fort Snelling in St. Paul. The round tower is the oldest
building still standing in Minnesota, built in 1820.

Musket drill

Showing my son how they would have made his favorite
food in the 1820's: waffles.

And where they would have cooked them.
Playing checkers in the Sutler's Store.
The Soldier's Barracks. The men would have slept two men
on top, head to foot, and two men on the bottom, head to foot!

Married Soldier's Barracks. Two families would have shared
this room.

Officer's Barracks

Married Officer's Barracks

His biggest smile of the day came when he was allowed
to beat the drum.

Preparing for the cannon drill.

He was determined to wear the yoke. :)

Beautiful day at one of Minnesota's favorite
historic sites.

Showing off his Minnesota Historical Society
Membership Sticker! It says: "I'm a Member!"
We left Fort Snelling and visited Dairy Queen before we headed home for open house at his new preschool.

It was a fun, looooooong day, but I was so happy to get this one on one time with him.

Your Turn: Have you seen a cannon or musket fire? Ever been to a historic site? What's your favorite thing to do when you have one-on-one time with someone you love?


  1. What a super day! Thanks for letting me share a little part of it. Your son was REALLY good during lunch. :)

    I love Fort Snelling. You're right. There's something new to learn every time.

    1. Thanks for going out of your way to meet us for lunch, Erica!! It was so fun to visit--and the hamburger was amazing! :) It was a great day. I love Fort Snelling, and my writer brain was working overtime imagining a story there...

  2. Aww what a fun outing and sweet photos. Asher is so cute!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! He is a cutie. :) I loved spending the day with him.

  3. What a blast!! And yes, kidding that alone time with ONE kiddo is awesome.

    1. It was a blast! Literally. :) (Sorry, couldn't help myself...) I'm always amazed at how much more communication takes place one-on-one, when they have your individed attention and not competing to be heard over their siblings. Now I need to find time to do this with the others...

    2. We've found this with the treks to hockey games and tournaments. We've learned all kinds of stuff, and heard their hearts when they have us ALONE. We tell other parents, it's not all about the hockey, it's that time WITH one son, or daughter, and the things that they feel safe saying in the safe zone of the van.

  4. What a neat day with your son. The public speaking teacher in my fast-forwarded 12 years and I imagine him standing up in front of his peers talking about this. What a story he will have to tell!


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