So I was all juiced up on our first hiking experience with the boys, and the next day I was having one of those ‘Mama rocks’ moments that comes on the heels of events such as sleeping through the night for the first time since giving birth, cleaning out your basement, or getting to work on time with no visible stains on your clothing.
This particular Mama Rocks moment manifested itself in the proclamation that “Of course we can do six miles. Yesterday was a breeze. And the boys loved it. And they fell asleep in the backpacks. And…blah, blah, blah. Stop doubting and get on board, ‘cuz this train of empowerment is leaving the station!”
I had it in mind that if we stuck to the carriage roads that led around Jordan Pond and Bubble Pond that we would be just fine, since there is no really rough footing. I conveniently blocked out the fact that there are miles of stretches on those roads that are graded uphill. In retrospect I remember years ago being on those same paths riding bikes with my husband and yelling at him, “This. Is. So. Not. Fun.” He would yell back at me to get off the bike and walk. I would respond, “Then what is the &%# point of the bikes?” This exchange happened more than once if memory serves.
So the boys started out like champs running down the paths, finding perfect hiking sticks, skipping and hopping and chasing each other. But things got sketchy fast. So out came the snacks.
You know the carrot and the stick? Well we have cheddar bunnies, and they worked for a little while before even that got old. They wanted to be up. They wanted to be down. They wanted to ride on our shoulders.
We finally realized that they were just plain tired and needed to be forced into a napping position. So they got strapped in with just a wee bit of fussing, and in about 10 minutes they were out like lights.
So I can say with all honesty that the last three miles were a perfectly enjoyable experience.
But here is the truth of the matter: when you take chances with your kids, you are going to have those moments when you wonder if today’s misery will trump even your worst-case scenarios. You are three miles in and you know you have no choice but to keep going forward because it is just as long to go back. The great part is you almost always emerge with some rib-tickling stories in those circumstances. I still laugh out loud when I think of the faces on a couple of hikers witnessing the four-alarm meltdown that occurred when we forced the kids into their seats. I hope they got a laugh out of the situation, but their faces registered more pity and confusion than humor.
And here is the other truth: you never know what is waiting for you at the end. We arrived at Bubble Pond with weary legs and a picnic lunch. The boys woke up, we ate, and then we all enjoyed a perfect lazy afternoon chasing minnows and catching frogs next to the pond.
The meltdowns fade, but this remains.