We were three pitches up on Bastille Crack, in Eldo. I was doing my first ever hanging belay and I had to pee. This is embarrassing to admit. But I had to pee really bad. Bad enough I felt like vomiting [though I am sure 50% of my nausea was do to nerves.] See, for some reason my head has not been in-the-game this climbing season. I have been freaking out more and more often. But that topic is for another post…
Then I hear Chris say, “Um, Lyss. I got a little off route. Do your best…” Um, that wasn’t confidence building. And I let the sobs escape. For a few moments tears streamed down my face. Then I hardened my resolve. “You can do this.” And I pushed forward. It was a hard pitch. Hunger, mixed with a bursting bladder, mixed with a much harder variation of pitch four left me exhausted and trembling. But I made it.
What is your most meaningful outdoor accomplishment?
I have a few. And every one of them involved tears. Every one of them had some moment where I seriously doubted success. Where circumstances were VERY uncomfortable or down right painful. And at some point I asked myself, “why am I doing this?”
At the same time, the comment I hear most frequently about adventuring with your kids is, “How can I do this without tired, cranky kids? Or without having to risk having a sleepless night? Or without any problems?”
And honestly, I think these thoughts every trip too! I put a massive amount of energy into making the trip a success. In fact, the majority of the posts on this site are to this end! To make your trip a success. To make it a little easier. To keep your kids warm or ease the learning curve on this thing called family adventuring.
But sometimes you cannot escape the tears…
EVERYTHING takes practice.
Case in point: Last March we headed out to Colorado to visit my folks and ski. We hadn’t been in the car longer than 30 minutes for nearly five months. I was all “prepared” for this road trip. Had all the new toys, the snacks, the movies. And…it was hell! Circumstantially everything was perfect. But the kids were…unsettled, restless, arguing, discontent. Need I go on?
We needed practice. I needed to accept that there would be a few road trips under our belt this year before the kids [and me] settled into a peaceful routine. Well, four 8+ hour road trips later and we are cruisin! Eight hours in the car isn’t nearly as painful. This applies to everything. The more we climb with the kids the smoother it goes. The more we camp, the better they sleep. The more we hike, the further they go.
As parents, heck…as humans, we try our best to avoid those hard, painful and awkward moments. Those ones that result in tears. I do it all the time. But sometimes I think we are missing part of the puzzle. The struggle part of it. Cause without some sort of struggle, the victory is less sweet.