Now that we’re contemplating backpacks as the next fashion statement, have you ever been backpacking?
I have. It feels like another life now but years and years ago I used to do a fair amount of it. I trekked in Nepal, I’ve hiked the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Bob Marshall Wilderness and as if that wasn’t enough, I did a four month guide training program in Canada. For fun. Go ahead, laugh. These days I’m not sure I’m related to that girl!
Many girlfriends have asked me about being a parent — girlfriends who aren’t quite to the point of starting families yet and are curious and a little scared (as I once was!). After a few conversations along these lines, it came to me. Being a parent is like backpacking. When you go backpacking, you do things you never thought you’d do. Perhaps things you never thought possible. Whether enduring a grueling climb to the top of the mountain or enduring one pair of underwear for two weeks straight you push yourself beyond your limits.
As a parent, I’ve done a lot of new things and a lot of unexpected things. Whether a totally gross diaper change in public, coming up with a MacGyver solution to fix my broken stroller or inventing a new game to convince my toddler to keep moving down the street, I’ve done a lot of things in the past two years that I’ve never done before.
I’ve been challenged in so many ways and just like a trek through the great outdoors, there’s a moment every week (sometimes every day!) when I think the situation is impossible. IMPOSSIBLE. But we always make it through the day. We keep going, we keep trying and and we make it through “the wilderness.” And just like reaching the summit and taking in the breathtaking views, we’ve had a lot of sunshine moments of our own. There’s always a well timed smile from the baby that makes me break down into lovey dovies or a funny remark from my toddler at just the right moment.
I’ve been struck too by the uncanny timing of assistance from other people. One day recently for example, I was at my wits end trying to get the kids in the car. I was so furious and frustrated. And just after I’d strapped them in and shut the doors, a new acquaintance walked by and came to say hello. She’s a mom too but we didn’t even go there — something about a little friendly adult interaction snapped me back to fine at the moment I needed it most.
Anyways, parenting, just like backpacking, is totally worth it.
P.S. This post from Kate Baer totally got me. She’s right on.