The Mother Trail

I so long for the baby to nap and see my older ones off to school so that I can have a rest from the neverending journey of mamahood. Maybe I'll get a nice warm shower or mop the floors?  Maybe I can watch a sitcom about other pretty showered moms (who are actually dressed) with clean homes and children you never see. I need a break from the diaper changes and housework; a clearing on the trail, to just take a moment and to see the beauty of what I have.
I imagine that being a parent is like climbing a mountain. You start out on a lovely open trail that is relatively flat. You are just so ready and excited to get going. You lead, your children happily follow. It is easy to look down and admire the wildflowers and pick some pinecones. You tell the kids, 'We have to get moving now, come on, let's go." You continue on, enjoying the view, but the trail begins to get tougher as iit winds on. You have to stop to catch your breath.  Your legs burn a bit as the trail becomes uphill. The trees become more dense and it's harder to see the view. You wonder how you'll make it any further. Just then, you come to a clearing. You feel the warmth of the sun and a field of long grass. You take a break, pick a few wildflowers, and watch the children run through the open field. You relax for a bit and enjoy the view.

But you cannot stop for long; the uphill trail is waiting and the kids are ready to go.  You are so tired, but have no choice but to go on. The kids will not wait and they run ahead without you. You push yourself a little harder and try your best to keep up and enjoy the hike.
Soon, you notice the trail has thinned and you suddenly realize you are completely lost. Which way to go? The kids say, "This way Mom!" but you just aren't sure that's the right way. You consult the map, the book of Love and Logic, but it doesn't have the answers. You try desperately to find a sign, leading you to the right way. You look upward. No wait, you look inward and follow your gut. It leads you back on the right trail. No longer lost, but tired and you want to stop for a break. The kids just want to keep going, so you keep up with a smile.

You see another clearing ahead and look forward to feeling the warm sun. You reach the field, but the sun is behind a cloud. You are still happy to rest. But the baby wants to nurse. It's not as sunny and warm as you expected, but you really do enjoy this view. 
Back on the trail. It's so steep! You are leading the way with true enjoyment.  According to the map, no more clearings ahead, but you find a nice unexpected bench to take your rest. The kids are running ahead, but notice you opening a bottle of water. They run back to you! Delighted they came back, you give the kids your bottled water to share, which happened to be the last one. You are truly more than happy to give it to them. You are just happy to be together. You enjoy watching the kids gulp down the water. Hiking is hard work!
Off you go again up what feels like a 90 degree angled trail. You try hard to show your kids that you are enjoying the journey as much as they are. Can they see that you are struggling? Can't they see how tired you are? Just then, your child offers you the last few sips of that bottled water. You remember how sweet they are, how thoughtful they are, how wonderful it is that you are turning out thoughtful, kind-hearted people. Both the water and the enlightenment give you the strength to make it through, just as you knew you could, and you create your own places to stop every now and then to enjoy the view.
I am still on my way to the summit. I'm sure the view will be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen and felt. I'll let you know when I get there!

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