David and I were very excited to wake up early with our boys and drive up to Mount Hood for a nice day hike. For several months Ethan's dream has been to hike on Mount Hood. David originally said June 21st would be the day, but then we decided why not on Memorial Day.
Sunday evening I came in late after being at church. David had lined all their clothes, socks, and hiking boots by the front door. It was very endearing and a reminder of the many reason I love him. Later I heard a voicemail that I might stop at Fred Meyer to pick up some "matching" socks as he could not find mates for any socks. I thought that was so cute. I gave up matching socks years ago with the boys.
We packed our little vintage Coleman cooler, big water jug, and one backpack with emergency necessities. Our plan was to drive and find a little breakfast cafe on our way up to Mt. Hood. Loaded and headed up the mountain was a very rewarding moment. I felt that just driving down our litte street we had arrived as parents. No strollers, no potty issues, nothing but our family and the open road. Wow, we have arrived. Actually we arrived at the Tollgate Inn. A cute little diner with servers that just basked in the endless questions from three adorable boys. It was fun to see the big plates of eggs, pancakes, sausage, toast, and hash browns arrive at our table. And like boys they woofed down their food and then back on the road.
We drove up to Timberline. A crystal clear beautiful sunny day. We park and Ethan has announced his EXTREME disappointment. He sees the top of the mountain and can not begin to understand why we are "down here" when he wants to be up there. We try to show him some hikers with packs, special shoes, and that they have had special training. David and I looked at each other and thought...wow we did not see this coming, but in Ethan's mind he had been robbed of the beauty from the top. Eric frolicked like a puppy in the snow and rolled down a tree ravine and scrambled back up. Eric made loud announcements of his joy, happiness, and choice to ENJOY!!! Emerson will often mimic Ethan's mood. Emerson went back and forth from enjoying himself to faking disappointment. After a small hike to a lift area, with boarders and skiers flying over the hill where we were, we decided this was not going to be safe and Ethan was choosing a less than happy place. So we trecked back to the car, taking Ethan further from his dream of climbing Mt. Hood.
We loaded the boys back into the car and David and I pretty much decided that we should go home, or find a trail lower down. Eric and Emerson were happy and got their fill of a mountain. Ethan still sobbing over this disappointment. We drove down.
About five miles down we found a trail head. Ethan announced that he would not be going with us. I said we are going to collect pine cones for our bird feeders and then we could go. Five minutes into collecting pine cones I took off running up the trail. A mother with boys knows that some hardcore exercise will work out any disappointment. Sure enough Ethan followed trying hard to keep up. Soon we were all climbing up the trail and running. Ethan said that his brain was finding a happy place. I told him that this was part of Mt. Hood and his face lit up. We all hiked at a good clip and just enjoyed the movement of our bodies. We came to an area where the boys just wanted to climb. David said he was sure the trail could be picked up at the top of this hill. He told me to continue up the trail with Emerson. I refused. I felt that if our family is lost in the woods we would be lost together. So, who would have known that Emerson would scramble up and over fallen logs, grab tree branches to pull himself up and forward, and duck under brambles. Nothing would stop him. David kept Ethan and Eric going upward while I followed below Emerson. If he were to lose his footing, I had to be below him to catch, break, or prevent a fall downward.
I was so amazed with all three boys and so thankful that David and I, being older parents could keep up with our young boys. Sure enough the trail did pick up further up and huffing and puffing we had a much needed water break. There was no breath taking scenery as we were deep into the woods, but to watch Ethan work himself out of being so disappointed, and the fun of running ahead, hiding and just walking along with all kind of conversations and chit chat. Once again we have arrived. We are officially into our next season of parenting. Emerson, only three proved to be more than a trooper. So happy and so excited.
Today is Tuesday. Back to the last few days of school and life as we know it here on the home front. As I sit here and reflect on just a day ago I am so thankful and blessed to be part of an amazing family.