Strawberry Rock

The view (right)
The view (middle)
The view from our summit (left)

My son took me hiking the other day….  just the two of us.  Originally we were going to take the entire family but when he said the words, “Ya’, the kids would HAVE to obey or they could really get hurt,” I suggested we hike alone to see if it would be something the little ones could do.  Usually they are pretty obedient, but they have their days and their moments and I didn’t want one of those to be during a hike I was unfamiliar with.

I LOVED IT!!!  When I go hiking with the girls—I do pretty well, don’t need a lot of rest and push pretty hard….      But I am in NO shape compared to an extremely athletic 21 year-old male.   I am old, fat, and SLOW!  I constantly had to ask for him to slow down, to which he would reply, “I thought we were going slow…..”  Ugh!  It was a steep climb, not the steepest climb I have done, but definitely steeper than these old lungs and knees could manage well.

I enjoyed my time immensely!  We talked about normal stuff—friends, school, girls, the gospel, the ward, family.  I felt like a real person—not just the cook, diaper changer, personnel manager, milk lady.  I don’t know what it is that is so difficult about early motherhood that makes you feel invisible………….
Oh, ya’ I do.  It is this:

“In speaking of mothers generally, I especially wish to praise and encourage young mothers. The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. The young years are often those when either husband or wife—or both—may still be in school or in those earliest and leanest stages of developing the husband’s breadwinning capacities. Finances fluctuate daily between low and nonexistent. The apartment is usually decorated in one of two smart designs—Deseret Industries provincial or early Mother Hubbard. The car, if there is one, runs on smooth tires and an empty tank. But with night feedings and night teethings, often the greatest challenge of all for a young mother is simply fatigue. Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. It is not surprising when the shadows under their eyes sometimes vaguely resemble the state of Rhode Island…….

“One young mother wrote to me recently that her anxiety tended to come on three fronts. One was that whenever she heard talks on LDS motherhood, she worried because she felt she didn’t measure up or somehow wasn’t going to be equal to the task. Secondly, she felt like the world expected her to teach her children reading, writing, interior design, Latin, calculus, and the Internet—all before the baby said something terribly ordinary, like “goo goo.” Thirdly, she often felt people were sometimes patronizing, almost always without meaning to be, because the advice she got or even the compliments she received seemed to reflect nothing of the mental investment, the spiritual and emotional exertion, the long-night, long-day, stretched-to-the-limit demands that sometimes are required in trying to be and wanting to be the mother God hopes she will be.
But one thing, she said, keeps her going: “Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that in my motherhood I am in an eternal partnership with Him. I am deeply moved that God finds His ultimate purpose and meaning in being a parent, even if some of His children make Him weep.

“It is this realization,” she says, “that I try to recall on those inevitably difficult days when all of this can be a bit overwhelming.”  (Excerpt, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Because She is a Mother,” April 1997, Full text here)

He says it so well.  We are everything —  the entire world to our little children, and yet we usually have ZERO personal time or space, or suppose to have any needs.  I still do not always feel like I can breath with this little person.  He is so demanding.  He is still up 2-3 times a night, at 11 months!!  A lot of the time he sleeps in my bed.  Now lest you decide to argue with me and tell me to just put my foot down, please remember that I do have 8 other children and NONE of them were still getting up every night at this age.  I know how to help them learn it.  This one is just on a different learning curve.

So what did I learn from my hike:
1.  Four hours of ME time was glorious!!!!
2.  But still probably too long for my little one.
3.  I would exercise that hard and long everyday in the outdoors with good company (like that would happen!)
4.  The hike was too much for the rest of the family.
5.  We would have been in danger if we had taken the entire family.
6.  The view was totally amazing (see above) and worth the climb, even with only cell phone photos.
7.  I really LOVE being a mother to my oldest (who, by the way, up to this point has given me my very most difficult parenting moments and learning experiences).
8.  If child #9 turns out like child #1, the hike will be long and hard, but the view will be amazing and totally and completely worth the journey.
9.  I do love these two high maintenance individuals:

10.  We can still do things when we are older that we did when we were younger…….  it just takes us longer.  Hopefully we do it with our eyes and hearts more open to the process.

One Comment on “Strawberry Rock

  1. I love that picture of the oldest and youngest. Sooo very cute! New addition reminds me of Speedy in that pic!


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