We headed up to my favorite place. The mountains. The weather was going to be nearing 100* today, and since we had plans to spend the whole day outside, the only logical place to be was the mountains with the temps hovering near, but not quite exceeding 70*.
We got up there and I was fully expecting the recharge I typically get from the mountains. Lisa and her two kids were going to meet us up there, but they were half an hour behind us, so we decided to head around the lake before they got up there. We walked and I felt like I was wrangling a bunch of cats. All the peace I was looking for up in the mountains was eluding me. The kids were fighting and I was not reveling in the strength I normally receive. I sighed, took a deep breath, told the stragglers and fighters to keep up and headed into my dream. I was determined I would enjoy my time with my mountains, and if I had to do it with kicking and screaming in tow, so be it.
Finally we met up with Lisa. I was frustrated and so happy that she was there because that would absolutely be helpful. The kids could run off and talk and play with her kids, and she and I could delve deep into our hippie side and just suck in the air and the sounds and everything that I needed. But first, we had to stop at the bathrooms, and then change the babies. They were fussy and so wanted to eat as well, so there was that. While we fed the babies, the kids chased squirrels and chipmunks and bunnies around. Keith was laughing and having fun, and then suddenly he wasn't. He walked over to the picnic tables where we were sitting, and sat next to me, and was quiet and no more laughing. I figured he was just tired. The babies announced they were ready to go, and we packed them up, and Keith leaned over to me and whispered, his face flushed and his eyes downcast. His pants were a little small, something I had noticed when he put them on this morning, but... well, I didn't realize they were as small as they actually were. His pants had ripped open near the crotch. He didn't want to get up and walk around because it was very noticeable. I told Lisa that we had a wardrobe malfunction, and so after a bit of discussion, it was decided that Keith would wait for us and we would head around the lake one more time.
We set off. Except Faye was so excited! She kept running ahead. Beth wanted to keep up with her and so followed along as closely as she could. Ryan was having fun with it all, and Lisa and I were walking in tandem, with me trying to keep Vince with us. We wanted to hurry around because Keith was waiting, but Vince wanted to look at every little thing. Ordinarily I would love that and be right there with him, but I couldn't slow down today because I wasn't all that comfortable with leaving Keith behind alone. And so there was a lot of slow walking while I tried to get Vince to stay with us. He loved to lay on the boardwalk and look over the edge at the little sparkling streams. He would jump up, pick a handful of tall grass tops which were right next to it, and then lay on his tummy while watching the grass bob and float merrily along the way. I should have stopped. I should have taken a picture as it was so Vince and so perfect. At one point, we were all standing around and Faye's flip flop broke. She pushed past Beth to come over to me so I could fix her shoe as the boardwalk was hot on her barefoot. In her maneuvers, she accidentally pushed Beth off the boardwalk. Beth gave a surprised gasp and then toppled off, in slow motion, and belly flopped into the marsh, her mouth in a complete circle of surprise.
I jumped down and fished her out, and she was devastated. She had dressed in a sweet little jumper Adrienne had made for her daughter as a Halloween costume. She wanted to be Heidi of the Alps, and going to the mountains was the most exciting thing in the world for her. Beth was devastated. I was so sad for her, but also glad that she insisted that she wear pants under jumper. After a quick consult, Lisa offered to take Faye, Vince and Kip around (Faye would push the stroller) and I would go back with Beth, meet up with Keith, and we would wait for them.
I got Beth cleaned up in the bathroom, we found Keith, and then we found a quiet little picnic bench in the shade and sat down to wait.
It. Was. Perfect!
I could hear the birds warbling, chipmunks and squirrels were running all around us. The little finches hopped between our feet. The breeze was perfect. It blew through the trees and across my face, calming my ruffled spirit. I sat and breathed deeply. I let the peace and the strength of the mountains pour through me. It was magical. I realized, as Keith sat across from me, watching the little furry creatures scamper around, and Beth climbed the boulders and jumped on the big rocks, that I need to be alone in nature. All these years I just took it for granted. I knew that I needed the mountains, but little did I know, it is solitude and mountains. I recall the last few times taking the kids with me has been incredibly stressful and I have left feeling confused and even more stressed out. No wonder! The quiet and peaceful time I had was exactly what I had been craving and what I needed.
Keith's pants somehow ripped more. The rip was now from just below the crotch on the leg all the way up to the button! The poor boy learned about embarrassment today. Lisa and everyone got back, and we loaded up the van, and changed our plans. We had planned to drive up Guardsman's Pass and down into Midway (I learned about another gorgeous hike over there I wanted to check out), but seeing as how Beth and Keith were both in tears, we just got everyone into the van and headed home, listening to The Tallest Man on Earth. I don't remember how I found that band, roughly 6 years ago, but I had forgotten about them until a few months ago, and I really like them. Music is important, you know?
As I drove, Faye sat in the back making nonsensical noise, Beth fell asleep, Vince and Kip giggled the whole way, and Keith, sitting in the front seat, fell asleep. The tween boy fell asleep! Let me just remind you of the gravity of those words. This is the child who is constantly telling me that he doesn't need sleep. I was just as amazed as you are!
We got home, and had green smoothies for dinner.
Keith kept telling me that green smoothies would be the worst dinner in the history of dinners. He would never be full, and would be hungry for the rest of his life. Because he isn't dramatic like that at all. And so we had green smoothies! They were delicious! And my boy had one and then was full. Because vegetables can really fill you up!
The kids went to bed early.
I got to sit up and watch the sun set as the breeze danced around in my house.
It has been quite the day. I am so grateful for my ancestors and their sacrifices and for my rich heritage!