I sort of want to check out. And scroll through thumbnails on Pinterest all afternoon. I sort of want to check out. And leave the endless re-directing of my kids, re-working of our daily routine, and the re-teaching of basic life skills to someone else. Maybe I can train the dog to do it? I want to check out. And throw my own little tantrum and have someone tell me I am all done, tuck me in for a nap, and shut the door for a few hours. But it doesn’t work like that.
I know you moms have felt the same. [You have right??] It seems that one of the most prevalent experiences of motherhood, other than exhaustion, is believing that surely it is “only you.” That you alone feel tired, overwhelmed, and like an endless failure. That of all the mothers in the great wide world, you alone have lost all inspiration for making another family meal, all motivation to wash one more load of jeans with holes in the knees, or certainly to find the time to exercise. We believe that all the other moms have it all figured out, are always pulled together, on top of it, succeeding. But really we are all in it together, fumbling through this thing called life and failing at least as much as we are succeeding.
It has been raining here for a while. And I don’t resent the rain, really. But it has been putting a crimp in our climbing/hiking style. And so today, when the sun shined bright through our front windows, my husband and I took one look at each other and shouted upstairs to the kids, “everyone get dressed for an adventure!” We hit the trail. But instead of a resounding peace I felt even more restless. The slow pace of my kids who haven’t hiked in months was eating away at me. I became even more frustrated with the questions of, “are we there yet?” And “can we just sit here and play in the dirt?” I wanted to cover miles and sweat and breathe hard and get all my mommy angst out.
I love my husband. He is my hero in so many ways. Our trail was heading up Mill Creek Canyon and very soon would dip back down to the road. In tune to my downward spiral, Chris suggested I grab the dog and trail run back to the car and then swing up the road and picked them up at the end. Thank you, Chris. I needed to run and breath and sweat. And I got to.
To the beat of my breath I pounded out the busy days, the endless cleaning, the balance between mom and teacher, the corrections not taken, the refereeing of sibling wars, and my own selfish desires. And by the end I was ready to eat my humble pie, apologize to my family for my cranky spirit, and move forward in my day.
Recently I added “She will laugh at the days to come,” to many of my media profiles. This verse from the Book of Proverbs is describing a wise woman, and many years ago I adopted it as my motto. I used to chant in under my breath during those days when hope and laughter truly seemed to allude me. I forgot about this proverb for a while, but I think it is about time I adopted it again.
Sometimes the mountains beat us down and humble us. Sometimes they heal our sore spirits and we begin to believe “we can” again. Sometimes the wind refreshes and sunshine stretches our smiles wide on tightened lips. Sometimes it drives the sand in our eyes and rubs our skin raw. But really I think that being outdoors builds me up. It reminds me I am small, my worries insignificant. Yes, it humbles me, makes me stronger. And at the end of the day, it helps me negotiate the tedious tasks that make up the bulk of my daily life, off the trail. And all of it reminds me to “laugh at the days to come.”
No one can steal my laugh, unless I let them.