My nearly-fifteen-year-old son is awesome. And an inspiration to me. Since starting high school, he has learned a lot. And he has taught me a lot:
- Push yourself.
- Take chances.
- Try new things.
- Don’t stress.
- Be responsible.
- Make time for fun.
- Prioritize your health.
- It’s OK to be quiet.
Case in point. Earlier this year, he and I set off on an adventure: A four-mile hike. Make time for fun. Try new things.
It was a cool winter day–no rain for once. I like to hike light. No fanny packs (embarrassing!) or backpack. Just a water bottle, gum, and my phone. The essentials. My son, on the other hand, hiked heavy. Literally. Laden with a backpack full of weights–50 lbs. of metal weight plates–because football season had ended and he’s always cross training. Prioritize your health.
We traveled upwards, through a forest, until we got to a cliff with spectacular views of the river below. We took in the scenery with awe. Quiet awe–no blabbering needed. I tend to be a blabber head and he tends to be quiet. It’s OK to be quiet.
We continued onward, at his urging. Our pace was fast. We met a fellow hiker who cautioned us to turn back at the halfway point because it would be getting dark at 4:30. We chuckled. Yeah right, no halfway point for us. We’re going the full hike. No turning around. Take chances.
It was an unknown journey. We saw forests, ferns, waterfalls, moss-covered boulders, cliffs, a river. Two hours passed.
“How are you holding up with that heavy backpack?” I worried.
“Mom. I’m fine.” Push yourself.
Well whaddya know. It was approaching 4:30 and the sun was starting to set. We were the lone hikers without any idea how much longer until we were back at the parking lot. Are we there yet?
Not even close.
The trail headed downward, with switchbacks, to the river. Surely after 30 minutes of switchbacks we would be there. Dusk became dark. It was getting cold. My map app on my phone didn’t work. Yeah, duh. No Internet in the middle of nowhere.
My thought was
lions wolves and tigers cougars and bears. We had been hiking for nearly four hours. Up, down, side to side. My son led our journey, with the backpack increasing in weight as our my muscles tired.
Pitch black. No compass. No snacks. No coats. Why was his backpack filled with weights and not bananas and trail mix? Panic washed over me. What. If.
Then. Finally, we came to a road. Surely it was the road to the parking lot. No, not for another mile.
We hiked 10 miles that day. And oh, the relief when we spotted our car. Where we blasted the heat and turned on Bob Marley for the drive home.
“Next time, Mom, let’s bring a map.” Ah yes. Be responsible.
What a workout. What a relief. What an adventure. I will forever remember that day–and evening and night–with my son.