Gasp. What?! Kid’s complaining about adventures?
When we look at other people’s lives, [and most likely when you look at ours] it appears that we are all just frolicking around on an “explorer’s high,” smiles on our faces, all the pieces coming together for perfect journeys, and an endless desire to do it all again.
And when we think this, we are wrong.
Last week was a doozy.
In the last few years, we’ve left the season of having really-young-and-needy-kids behind. [You know… when getting outdoors is logistically difficult. And getting out the door is the crux of the day.] Wow. Things are now so much easier! For all you parents toting diapers down the trail and breastfeeding on a summit, know that it really does get easier and better!
But like most of life, when one season’s hardship ends, another begins. Now we’ve moved on to a different type of difficult, emotionally difficult.
Many days my kids just don’t want to go on a hike. They voice it loud and clear, and hold to their guns no matter what we say. Often times they want to come home after only 2 runs at the ski area just so they can “play with their friends in the neighborhood.” They get tired. They get emotional. And like everyone else, they take it out on us and each other.
Let’s just say yesterday, after a week of the emotional barrage every time I had skiing or biking or hiking on the agenda, I was fully ready to give up.
I grabbed a beer, sat in the backyard with Chris and hashed through it all. No doubt there were tears involved.
And then we decided to go on a hike. OK. Chris decided. I begrudgingly followed along, thinking, “well, at least he can deal with all the complaining this time!”
We hit a trailhead only 5 minutes from home. Of course, he chose the steepest one, a short hike to the ridge line.
In the car, he laid out the problem with the kids. He told them it was discouraging for us to hear their complaining all the time. He promised them they’d get time to play with friends during the week and the occasional weekend. But he made it clear our family outdoor time was not going to change, largely because mom and dad need it to thrive. And we truly believe they do too. It is just part of how we roll around here.
I waited for the backlash and it never came.
We hit the steep trail. I waited for the complaining… but apart from the youngest saying her legs felt tired, it never came. I waited and hiked and waited.
And while I was tempted to think, “sure, of course now they are going to act like saints.” I also realized this was one of those moments… where it all comes together.
The kids literally skipped up the trail. We hit snow, we practiced kick stepping, we watched deer run by, we enjoyed our REALLY HAPPY DOG.
We hit the “summit” and the sunset hit an all time amazing high. We glissading the snow on the way down [much to the kid’s excitement]. And we ran together all the way to the car under the most brilliant orange and pink sky reflecting off the Great Salt Lake.
I still don’t know what to do about kids complaining on our family adventures…
But I know one thing not to do:
Don’t stop doing what you love. Make it happen. Roll with the punches. Press on friends.