Substitute Dad

© 2006 - 2010 By Scribe1971 (scribe1971@hotmail.com)

Chapter 20

A Giant Nickel, A Giant Goose and a Giant

On the second day of the trip, Josh and I started the most grueling leg. Not including stops and overnight stays, we had a 20 hour drive ahead of us just to reach the Manitoba border. After leaving Camp Tonawonka, we headed towards Sudbury where we planned on stopping for lunch.

Aside from fueling up the Jeep and ourselves, there was a Sudbury attraction which was on our list or targets. We had to see the giant nickel. Sudbury, which was the largest city in Northern Ontario, is a mining town with large concentrations of nickel and copper. The giant nickel is located near the Trans-Canada highway and is one of two major attractions in the city; the other being Dynamic Earth. Dynamic Earth, an earth sciences exhibition, was intended to celebrate the mining heritage of the city. The other major attraction was Science North, an interactive science centre built atop an ancient earthquake fault on the shore of Lake Ramsey.

Had we not been so anxious to head west, we probably would have spent time exploring both exhibits. Given our tight schedule, we had to limit ourselves to visiting and photographing the giant nickel.

"You know, I never realized just how big Ontario is before this trip," Josh said as we hurtled down the highway. "I mean, I'd seen it on a map and I had an idea as to how big it is, but I never really pictured it before."

"I know what you mean. To make matters worse, as we head west, we're pretty much crossing Ontario the longest way possible." I said as I looked over at Josh and flashed him a smile. "How about fishing out a Coke for me?"

"Sure dad," Josh said as he cracked open the cooler and dug around for a nice frosty can of Coke. He finally produced two cans, cracked one and handed it to me and then cracked one for himself.

"Cheers," I said as I held out my can to him. "To my son,"

"To my dad," Josh replied as he clinked my can with his own and then drank deeply.

"By around this time tomorrow, we'll get our first glimpse of Lake Superior," I said.

"I can just imagine how big it'll be. I'll bet it'll be like looking at the ocean," Josh said thoughtfully.

"You've never seen the ocean before, have you?" I asked.

"Nope, I've never seen it," he replied.

"Well, on this trip, you're going to see two of them. If we had more time, you'd get to see three! I guess we'll have to save the Arctic Ocean until next year."

"That would be cool," Josh replied.

"I guess this is giant day," I said with a grin. "First we see the giant nickel is Sudbury and then we see the giant Canada goose in Wawa."

"Oh yeah, the 28 foot tall goose! Just don't park under it or we'll have a hell of a time cleaning the Jeep," Josh said in a deadpan voice.

I just looked at him and then cracked up. "Now who's the dweeb?"

"We're both dweebs, but we love each other," Josh replied. It was a play on my standard answer whenever he kidded me and called me some sort of name.

"Of course, more than anyone or anything else in the world."

We reached Sudbury just after 12:30 PM and pulled off the highway. Our first stop was the local Tim Horton's to pick up some fresh soup, sandwiches, coffee and donuts for a picnic lunch near the giant nickel. We then headed over to Dynamic Earth.

"There it is," Josh said excitedly. "I see the giant nickel!"

Sure enough, the giant nickel was just ahead of us. We pulled up and parked the Jeep. Josh grabbed the video and digital cameras and ran off while I picked up our food and followed closely behind him.

It really was quite a sight. It was enormous and it had the flattened edges of the old nickels that often turned up in pocket change. There were quite a few people standing around looking at it and taking photos. Sure enough, Josh was chatting up all of them and getting them to talk on camera. He also got a man to take a picture of the two of us standing arm-in-arm in front of it. We also had some fun. I had Josh pose for some trick picture which made it appear as if he was holding the giant nickel over his head.

With the pictures taken and the video shot, we sat down and enjoyed our lunch. There weren't any available picnic tables so we sat on the grass. We sat back-to-back and leaned against each other. It was quite comfortable and it gave us both some of the physical contact which we enjoyed so much.

With our lunch finished, it was time to push on. We had a six hour haul to reach Wawa and that's where we intended to have dinner and spend the night. I had booked a room in a small motel just off the highway which would make it easy for us to get back on the road the next morning. The next day was going to be another long haul day, but it was going to feature of the more memorable sights along the way. The first was Lake Superior and the second was the Terry Fox monument.

Terry Fox had run his Marathon of Hope for cancer research along the very route that we were traveling and had ended his cross-country attempt just east of Thunder Bay. Close to the spot where his run ended, a monument had been erected in his honour. It was one of the main stops that we intended to make in northern Ontario.

As I drove, Josh played the role of deejay and played a continuous selection of my favorite songs on CD. He also spent a lot of time filming with the video camera and playing with his Gameboy. Best of all, we spent hours just talking and enjoying each other's company. Sometimes we chatted about trivial matters and at other times, we had pretty intimate conversations about serious topics.

"Dad, what happens if my mom decides to marry Bob?" Josh asked as we neared Wawa.

"What do you mean Josh?" I asked.

"I mean, if my mom marries Bob, won't that make him my step-father?"

"I guess it would legally make him your step-father. Why do you ask?"

"I don't want him to be my step-father; I want you as my Dad."

"Joshy, I am your Dad and that won't ever change. No matter what happens. I don't know much about Bob, but he seems to be a decent kind of guy. If he's smart, he won't try to be anything more than your friend and he won't try to get between you and me."

"But what if he isn't smart?" Josh asked seriously.

"Well then I doubt your mom would marry him. You mom knows how close we are and how much we care about each other. Do you think she'd allow anyone to come between that?"

"No, I guess not. If they do get married, I'll still call him Bob," Josh replied firmly.

"Josh, I have no doubt that he wouldn't object to that. You really don't need to worry," I said firmly. "Here, put your fingers on my wrist," I instructed Josh as I held out my hand and Josh complied. "Do you feel anything?"

"Yeah, I can feel your pulse," Josh replied.

"Good. Do you know how you can tell that I'm still your Dad?" I asked. "If my heart is beating, if I have a pulse, I will still love you and I will still be your Dad. Nobody could ever, or will ever, change that."

Josh placed a gentle kiss on my wrist. "I love you too and I owe you a big hug next time we stop," Josh said with a smile.

"Josh, has this been bugging you for a while?" I asked gently.

"Yeah, kind of," Josh replied.

"Is that why you're kind of cool towards Bob?"

Josh looked at his feet for a moment. "Yeah, he's an ok guy, I guess. I was just worried that if he and mom got together, it would split us up again."

"Josh, you never have to worry about that. When I say forever, I mean forever. Nothing is ever going to come between us. We will live the rest of our lives as Dad and son and you can take that to the bank. Why don't you try to be a little nicer to Bob?"

"I'll try," Josh said skeptically. "I want mom to be happy, but I won't let anyone try to replace you."

I knew that Susan was seeing a lot of Bob, but I didn't think it was quite as serious as Josh thought. In any case, I had no doubt that Susan would never allow anything to break up or hinder the relationship that Josh and I shared. She knew, better than anyone else, just how deep our bond was, and how much we truly loved each other. I had no doubt that if she did wind up marrying Bob, she would make him well aware that Josh already had a Dad in the picture, and that was not going to change. I was pretty certain that she knew that Josh would not accept anything different.

Both of us were starting to get hungry by the time we reached Wawa. The plan was to find and photograph the giant goose and then get checked into our motel and get something to eat. Having spent the better part of the day driving, my neck and shoulders were pretty stiff and I had a desperate need to stretch out my legs. Josh spotted the giant goose just before the GPS announced our arrival. I pulled the Jeep into the parking lot and parked it.

"Why do they have a giant goose?" Josh asked with a quizzical look on his face.

"I think Wawa is a play on an Indian word which means goose," I replied.

The goose was about 30 feet tall and perched on a concrete block. It was posed with its neck stretched out and with its wings partially extended. I took some digital photos from various angles while Josh video taped it.

"Don't get too close to it's rear-end!" Josh chided.

"Oh, wise guy, eh? Whoop whoop whoop whoop" I said in my 'Curly' voice which always cracked Josh up. He laughed and filmed the whole thing. "Didn't you say that you owed me a hug?" I asked.

"Oh yeah!" Josh replied as he ran over and pulled me into one of his famous octopus-like hugs. He slung the video camera over his back and it wasn't until later that we discovered that he had set it to keep filming without him having to push the button and he had forgotten to turn it off. Later, when we viewed the video, we were treated to about 20 minutes of grass, gravel and the left cheek of Josh's rear-end!

After spending half an hour admiring the goose and stretching our legs, our grumbling stomachs motivated us to head to the motel. I had booked us into a small motel on the west side of Wawa just off the Trans-Canada highway. It would give us an easy start the next morning on what would be another grueling day of driving.

We pulled into the motel and I got us checked in. We were given room 8, which was about half-way down the length of the motel. It was a typical motel and the room was cozy and the beds were comfortable. Josh and I grabbed our overnight bags and piled into the room. I took the bed nearest to the door while Josh took the one nearest to the bathroom. We set our bags down on the dresser and I flopped down on my bed while Josh turned on the TV.

"Are you ok?" Josh asked me. I could hear concern in his voice.

"Yeah I'm ok, bud. I'm just a little tired and a little stiff," I replied wanly.

"Why didn't you say so?" Josh replied as he climbed off his bed and joined me on mine. "Take off your shirt and roll over so I can give you a massage," he instructed.

"You don't have to that," I said knowing that Josh was probably pretty tired too.

"I WANT to do that," Josh replied firmly and began to pull my shirt off.

I rolled over and Josh went to work. Before long, the tightness and tension was leaving my neck and shoulders. I don't know how he did it, but Josh always managed to use just the right amount of pressure and find just the right spots. I lay there as he worked his loving magic and felt myself enter a deeply relaxed state. The last thing that I remembered before falling asleep, was Josh wrapping his arms around me and whispering, "I love you Dad" in my ear.

I awoke about an hour later with Josh gently shaking my shoulder and with the wonderful smell of pizza filling my nostrils.

"Dad, wake up. I ordered some pizza for dinner," Josh said gently as he shook my shoulder.

"Hey bud, that smells great," I replied as I slowly regained consciousness. "Thanks for the massage, my neck and shoulders feel great," I said as I hugged Josh firmly.

"Anytime Dad. I love you so much. I'm not old enough to drive, but I can sure do my part to make it easier for you to do the driving."

I gently kissed his forehead. "I love you too kiddo," I said as I gave him a final squeeze and released him. Even as a budding teenager, Josh thrived on physical contact. He loved to hug and snuggle with people he loved. Josh could no more thrive without loving physical contact, than he could survive without food or water.

"Let's eat, I'm starving," Josh chuckled as he grabbed the pizza box and then sat it down on my bed. He snagged the remote for the TV and then climbed up beside me. I propped myself up against the head board and Josh snuggled up to me in his favorite television viewing position.

Josh had ordered an extra large pizza with all of our favorite toppings. Josh and I were both carnivores and the pizza was loaded with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham, and ground beef with green peppers, mushrooms and double cheese thrown in almost as an afterthought. It was a dietician's worst nightmare but for us, it was a dream come true after a long day on the road.

"This looks fantastic," I said. "Where did you get it?"

"I found a flyer for a pizza place over on the dresser and I phoned in an order. I would have let you sleep longer, but I was hungry and I didn't want to let it get cold."

"Good thinking."

Amazingly, we managed to down the entire pizza and chased it down with a couple of cans of Coke. It was only about 8:00 PM but we were both tired so we just stayed in the room, snuggled up together on my bed and watched TV. The movie "Top Secret", a really silly slap-stick movie filled with what can only be described as toilet humour, was showing and we both really enjoyed it.

By 10:00PM, we were both fading fast and we decided to take turns in the shower before hitting the hay. I went first and by the time Josh was done, I was sound asleep. I had hoped to sleep right through, but my sleep was interrupted in the early morning hours by a cry of pain from Josh. I was up like a shot.

"Josh! Are you ok son?" I asked. Josh was writhing in pain in the next leg.

"MY LEG HURTS LIKE HELL," Josh yelled.

I went to him and threw back his covered. He was clutching his left calf and his face as a mask of pain. "Josh, just relax. You have a charley horse, straighten out your leg and let me help you," I instructed. Having had more than my fair share of charley horses, I knew the poor guy was in a lot of pain.

I gently rolled Josh onto his stomach and stretched out his leg. I began to massage his calf and the back of his knee. I started gently and gradually got more firm. I felt Josh begin to relax. "Is this helping?" I asked.

"Yeah, it's helping a lot," he replied in a half-sleepy, half-relieved tone of voice.

I expanded my efforts to both of his calves and then his thighs and the backs of his knees. After about 15 minutes, I rolled him over again to do the front of his legs and I discovered that he was fast asleep and snoring softly. I spent 10 minutes massaging the front of his legs as he slept soundly. When I was finally done, I stood up, grabbed his covers and leaned down to kiss his forehead and tuck him in. As I did it, he wrapped his arms around my neck and shoulders and it became clear that I wasn't going back to my own bed that night.

I climbed in with Josh and pulled the covers around us. I lay on my side and Josh rolled over and snuggled up against me. I folded my arms around him, pulled him tightly against my chest and drifted back off to sleep.

We woke up bright and early the next morning in pretty much the same position. We lay on our sides with Josh's back against my chest. My arms were wrapped around him and he was clutching my hands against his chest. I stretched my arms and gently rubbed Josh's side to wake him up. "Joshy, it's time to get up," I said gently.

Without saying a word, he stretched his arms and then rolled over to face me. With his eyes still tightly closed, he yawned and then gave me my morning hug. "Morning Dad," he said in a sleepy voice and then opened his eyes. "Thanks for taking care of me last night. That hurt like hell," he said.

"I know. I hate it when I get those. Anyway, what are dads for?" I kissed his forehead and then climbed out of bed and headed for the bathroom.

The two of us shared the bathroom sink as we washed up and shaved, before dressing for the day. It was a bright and sunny June morning without as much as a cloud in the sky. The day ahead was filled with promise. We would get our first look at the world's largest freshwater lake, Lake Superior, at around noon when we rolled into the town of Marathon. We would follow the shore of Lake Superior for more than 200 km stopping at scenic viewing points near Rossport, Red Rock and Hurkett. By around 3:00 that afternoon we would arrive at the Terry Fox memorial and by the dinner hour, we'd be checking into our motel in Thunder Bay. It was going to be a strenuous but very scenic drive and it was to be a preview of the marathon drive that lay ahead of us the next day. The next day's drive would finally take us out of Ontario and would end in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

After filling up the Jeep's gas tank at the local gas station and filling up ourselves at the local McDonalds, we hit the road. For the next hundred kilometers, the Trans-Canada highway looped north and west around Pukaskwa National Park which lay on the Northern shore of Lake Superior. The road was heavily traveled by logging trucks and was actually quite scenic. There were long stretches of highway which had been blasted into the solid rock of the Canadian Shield and which featured high rock walls on either side.

"It' feels like we're driving in the Deathstar trench," Josh said on during one particularly long span of road.

I laughed. "It does kind of feel like that. Are you getting it on film?" I asked

"Oh yeah!" Josh replied with his trademark grin as he fiddled with the collection of CDs which we had brought along and selected a disc. A moment later, the "Star Wars" theme began blasting from the stereo system causing us both to burst out laughing like a pair of loons.

Just after 11:00 AM, the highway turned to the south and made a bee-line towards the massive lake. As we reached the outskirts of the town or Marathon, we began to see water on the horizon. By the time we reached the edge of the giant lake, the entire southern horizon was dominated by shimmering water. It was so big that it resembled an inland sea.

"My God, it's huge," Josh said. "I've seen it on maps but I never knew just how big it really is," he continued.

"I know what you mean, the ocean looks just like this," I replied. "Let's find a place to park and check it out."

We pulled into a small park on the lakeshore and parked the Jeep. We grabbed the cameras and walked down to the rocky shore of the world's largest freshwater lake. It was a warm and largely windless day so the water was smooth and calm. Birds circled overhead and we could see boats scattered along the horizon.

"This reminds me of our visit to Wasaga Beach late last year," I said to Josh as we walked along the shore. "Wasaga Beach is several hundred km that way," I said pointing to the southeast.

"This is a lot rockier," Josh said. "Look how smooth and round all these rocks are." Josh bent down and picked up a baseball sized rock which had been worn smooth by the ravages of time and lake water.

I bent down and picked up a nice flat skimming stone and chucked it into the water, skipping it about four times on the surface before it submerged into the cool water.

"Nice shot," Josh said from behind the video camera.

We spent about 30 minutes walking along the lakeshore before we decided to get back into the Jeep and grab some lunch. We stopped at a local greasy spoon restaurant for burgers. Greasy spoon restaurants were THE places for good, hot and inexpensive meals while on the road and this place was no different. Their burgers were not quite up to Weber's standards, but they were thick, juicy and grilled to perfection.

During the next five hours, the highway stuck quite close to the lake. We passed through a number of quaint little towns such as Terrace Bay, Schreiber and Rossport. Just outside of Rossport, we stopped at a beautiful scenic lookout which overlooked Lake Superior. Located right at the mouth of Nipigon Bay, it afforded a nice view of some large, rocky islands. We spent some time talking to people who had stopped and ended up meeting people from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, New York State and Texas. Josh, who was really growing into his role of cameraman and spot interviewer had a great time talking to everyone he met. I didn't see one single person brush him off or refuse to speak to him. It was truly amazing.

Just past the town of Hurkett, the two branches of the Trans-Canada highway (Highways 11 and 17) merged. This merged stretch of highway, which led the way to Thunder Bay, was named the "Terry Fox Courage Highway". It was on this stretch of highway where Terry Fox had ended his "Marathon of Hope".

"We're getting close to the Terry Fox Monument," I told Josh. "They renamed this stretch of highway in his honour. It's officially called the 'Terry Fox Courage Highway'."

"I can't wait to see the monument," Josh replied. "I've read all about Terry Fox and I've done Terry Fox runs before but this is different."

We began to see signs for the Terry Fox Scenic Lookout just east of Thunder Bay. The lookout, about 8 km from the actual spot where Terry ended his cross-country run sat high on a hill overlooking the Trans-Canada Highway and the north shore of Lake Superior. Josh and I could feel the power of the place as we approached it.

"There's the exit," Josh reported just before the GPS announced the same thing.

I pulled off the highway and followed the driveway up the hill towards the visitor center and the monument. It was late in the day and the sun was getting close to the western horizon and it cast a wonderfully soft light over the place. The parking lot was nearly full and there was a large crowd of people milling about the path to the monument and the visitor centre.

Josh and I climbed out of the Jeep and headed down the narrow path towards the monument. Josh, catching his first sight of the monument, took off at a near run. The monument was breathtaking. It featured a large granite map of Canada showing his route from Newfoundland, through the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec and Ontario. Suspended above the map was a large granite platform engraved with the coats of arms of Canada and all of the provinces and territories. Standing on top of the platform was an 8 foot tall statue of Terry Fox. He was depicted in his classic 'hop-step' pose with his prosthetic right leg prominently shown and a look of gritty determination set on his face.

As I approached Josh from behind, I managed to shoot one of the most memorable photos of the entire trip. The digital photo showed Josh in profile, standing by the iron railing surrounding the monument. He was gazing upwards at the statue and he was silhouetted by the sun as it approached the western horizon. After shooting the photo, I stood beside him and placed my arm around his shoulders. Looking down, I noticed that the granite map was covered in loonies and twonies which people had tossed. I could see that Josh was deep in contemplation so I remained silent until he decided to speak.

"How old was he, dad?" Josh finally asked.

"He was only 18 when he lost his leg to cancer, 21 when he started his run, 22 when he ended it and only 23 when he died," I said softly.

"He lost his leg to cancer and he ran all the way from Newfoundland on one leg," Josh observed. His eyes were still locked on the statue. It was obvious that that place and the legacy of that brave young man were having a massive effect on him.

"That's right, Josh. He ran 5,373 km over 143 days. That's more than a marathon per day, each and every single day."

"Why did he do it?" Josh asked in awe.

"Take a look at this," I said as I showed Josh a brochure which I had picked up as I passed the visitor centre. The brochure contained a brief history of Terry Fox and the monument and it included some quotes from the man himself. One of these quotes summed up his mission quite nicely: 'Dreams are made if people only try. I believe in miracles. I have to, because somewhere, the hurting must stop.' "His goal, was to raise $1 for every man, woman and child in Canada to help fund Cancer research."

"Did he achieve his goal?" Josh asked.

"Did he ever. He might not have made it all the way to the west coast, but he more than achieved his goal. By the time he died, he had raised over $24,000,000 for cancer research and since then, his legacy has raised hundreds of millions more."

"What do you mean?" Josh asked as he turned away from the statue for the first time and looked at me. I could see that his eyes were moist.

"You mentioned that you've done Terry Fox runs before. They hold those all over Canada and in more than 80 countries around the world. Every year, people raise millions of dollars for cancer research in Terry's name. Some say that Terry Fox is the greatest Canadian hero and the best known Canadian who ever lived."

"He wanted to change the world," Josh replied. "He decided to try to do something about a terrible disease."

"That's exactly what he did," I replied. "He did change the world. He showed the world what one man can do when he put's his mind to it. He showed the world that one courageous person can change the world and can motivate people."

"He's a true hero," Josh said simply as he wiped his eyes. I could see just how moved he was.

"He sure is, Josh. One day, there will be a cure for cancer and it will be due, at least in part, to what that young man did. His legacy will touch the lives of millions of people around the world for a long time to come."

"It's amazing. He was just an ordinary guy. A kid who got hit with a terrible disease and decided to fight back. He wasn't rich. He wasn't famous. He was just like me or you. I can't even imagine how tough it would be to run that far on two legs, let alone one. He must have been the bravest person who ever lived," Josh said thoughtfully as he turned his head back towards the statue. "You're my hero Dad, but so is Terry. I hope that one day I can touch so many people and make such a difference in the world."

I turned Josh towards me and looked into his gray eyes. "I'm honored to be in such company Josh. I truly believe that you can touch people's lives the way that Terry did. You just need to figure out your own way to do it. I look at you and I see someone who has his strength and his courage. I believe that you will change the world, Joshy," I said warmly as we embraced. "I love you kiddo."

"I love you too Dad. I meant it when I said that you're my hero."

We stood and looked at the statue for several more minutes before Josh cracked out the video camera and we began talking to some of the other people who were there. Josh was utterly amazed when he discovered that the people milling about had come from all over Canada, the United States, Australia, Europe and Asia. Several of them told us that they ran in annual Terry Fox runs in their own countries and that they had one of the reasons that they were visiting Canada was to see the Terry Fox monument.

Josh was in awe of the fact that one ordinary young man could have such a profound impact on so many people from so many places. Visiting that place made the Terry Fox story real to him and demonstrated to him that the world lay at his feet and that anything was possible if he was willing to work at it and give it his all.

Before leaving, we paid a visit to the visitor centre. Josh and I both signed the guest book and we checked out the displays which depicted the highlights of Terry's run and his life. As we were leaving, we stopped at a donation box near the door. I watched in amazement as Josh took out his wallet, removed $100 and slipped it into the box.

"That was very generous of you Josh," I said as I reached into my wallet and did the same thing.

"It was nothing compared to what Terry did," Josh said firmly as we left.

Shortly after leaving the Terry Fox Scenic Lookout, we pulled into Thunder Bay. It had been a long and emotional day and we were both tired and hungry. After checking into our motel, we headed out in search of dinner.

"How about fish and chips tonight?" Josh asked.

"Sounds like a good idea to me," I replied. Both Josh and I were fish and chips fiends. After a short drive, we managed to find a little hole-in-the-wall place fish and chip shop. It was one of those places where they had probably been using the same grease for decades and they wrapped the fish and chips up in newspapers. Those places always had the best fish. We grabbed a couple of large orders and took it back to our motel room.

In pretty short order, we downed the food and stretched out on my bed to watch TV. As usual, Josh was snuggled up against me in his usual TV watching position. We were doing little more than channel surfing while enjoying each other's company.

"How's your neck and shoulders?" Josh asked.

"Not too bad, a little tight, I guess."

"All right, then off with the shirt and lay down," Josh commanded in his drill instructor voice. I was powerless to refuse so I did as he directed. It only took him 15 minutes or so to get me fully relaxed and loosened up. These wonderfully loving massages made all the hard driving all the more worthwhile.

"Are your legs ok?" I asked Josh as he finished massaging my neck.

"Yeah, they're ok tonight. I don't need a massage, I just want to lay here with you and watch TV," Josh replied.

I pulled him in close and gave him a firm squeeze. "What did I ever to do deserve you?" I asked.

"I don't know, but I wonder the same thing about you," Josh replied as he leaned his head against my shoulder.

We watched television for another hour before I noticed that Josh had fallen asleep against my side and was snoring softly. I gently got him undressed and tucked him in, before heading to the bathroom to brush my teeth.

When I came back into the room, I climbed in beside Josh and he immediately scooted over and cuddled up against my side. I lay there for a while listening to Josh breathe and thought about the trip so far and what lay ahead. So far, things had been going even better than I had ever imagined. I could see Josh blossoming before my eyes and as amazing as it was, I could see that we were growing even closer together.

The experience of really exploring the country for the first time was already having a profound impact on Josh. It was opening his eyes to the vastness, beauty and diversity of the country like nothing else could. We were meeting and speaking to people from all parts of the country and he had come face to face with the legacy of one of the nation's greatest heroes.

The Terry Fox monument had hit Josh right in the heart and it had seemed to motivate him. Josh seemed to be looking at the world around him and seeing the possibilities instead of the limitations and I hoped that it was something which would stay with him for the rest of his life.

I wrapped my arms around my son and closed my eyes while thanking God for bringing us together and giving me the opportunity to be a part of this amazing person's life. I felt more than ever that I was a part of something really big and that it was my job to keep watch over Josh and to help him along the path to his destiny.


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