Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Goodbye, Summer

The sun is setting on another summer, one I really wished could have gone on forever.

This summer was all about the great outdoors for our family: we hiked, we climbed, we fished, we played in rivers, we dived into lakes, we swam - oh boy did we swim! We rode horses; we spotted eagles, moose, elk, deer, and buffalo in their natural habitats. We cooked breakfasts, lunches and dinners over campfires; we woke up to the sound of birds in the woods. We saw amazing spectacles of nature: Old Faithful, Dragons Cave, and some truly inspiring sunrises and sunsets. 

We even climbed a mountain:
Not the mountain we climbed, but some rocks that Daniel scared me half to death by climbing

Daniel and I set off one afternoon. We took lots of breaks along the way. About 7/8 of the way up, however, I looked down.
Watch your step
And vertigo set in. I do. not. like. heights. I usually just ignore my vertigo, but underfoot was gravel that I was unable to get a good footing on, and the only thing to hang on to were a few dried sage bushes. I wasn't even wearing adequate hiking shoes. "I can't do it, Daniel," I wimpered.

Daniel was even more nervous than I. Yet he gathered his courage and I encouraged him to go to the peak, asking him to please stay within sight. (He wanted to sign a book that was kept at the very top in an enclosed mailbox, as proof that he had climbed to the top. )

I watched him as he nervously climbed to the very top. He did it! But staying within my eyesight meant not signing the guest book that was on the other side of the peak, behind a tree. So he came back down to my perch - I was hanging onto a larger sage bush and lying down - and he was in tears. He was exhilarated, and he really wanted to sign that darn guest book.

I was proud of him for climbing the mountain, but more importantly, for staying within sight and for not getting too down on his mom, who he knows is always trying her very darn hardest. This incident could be seen as a metaphor for other challenges I faced this summer: To reach - almost! - the top of a mountain was certainly an achievement for this vertigo challenged mom, but to watch as my son battled his nervousness and did it on his own brought me to tears of joy. I've had challenges this summer, yes, but they pale in comparison to the many, many touching and unforgettable moments I've experienced this summer.

May my kids always know that as they reach out in life towards their goals, climbing their own personal mountains, I will be right there, never too far away, watching them soar, always cheering them on, even clinging to sagebrush and lying on the side of the mountain if I have to!

And dammit, I promise that we'll be back to that mountain, the kids and I, and I *will* wear the proper shoes, and I won't look down and I *will* make it to the top, and all three of us *will* sign the book in the mailbox, so help me God!

This was a summer of nature, of new horizons and experiences, and most of all, a summer of absolutely no regrets.

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