Monday, September 20, 2010

Reservoir Reservations....

Today we had a moment where I doubted myself.
How much can you ask of your child when you're not able to do the same thing?
It was time for our Monday hike and off we drove to Lafayette Reservoir.
We met up with our hiking crew, chock full of experienced hikers all decked out with hydration packs and outdoorsy clothes. (Don't feel bad if you're lost, I had never even heard of
a hydration pack until last week ;)
Normally our group breaks into two hiking crews.....The Littles and the Bigs.
The Littles generally consist of the kids who are 4 and under, accompanied by their respective mommas.
The Big kid hike includes the rest of the group...those adults with the most hiking experience, as well as atleast 23 kids, ages 5 & up.  The group mostly consists of boys ages 6-12 who explore nature with gusto...as well as cheer each other on.

This marked the occasion of our second hike for the year. 
Last week, we lucked out and Jarrod was able to come along as he was working from home.
I was so thankful that he could 'break in' the boys and accompany them on the Big hike.
They ended up taking a 4 mile hike with about a 100 hundred foot climb.
That week the Littles took a perfectly leisurely 2 mile hike closer to the ground level.  Just my style...and perfect for breaking in Natalia (and me of course!)
This week we had the option to stay on a paved course that followed the edge of the Reservoir.
It's a path I'm very familiar with as I used to walk it a lot when the kids were small.  I haven't attempted it since Natalia has been able to walk.  It was great to go with a baby in a stroller, but not so much with an active toddler.  The paved path has a few big hills, but it's a steady, predictable walk. 
The Bigs were going off the pavement and up onto 'The Rim.'
I had no idea what to expect on their hike, but I knew that Natalia wouldn't last on a 5 mile trek.
She was however, having a terrible time splitting from 2 of her friends who are older than she is.....perfect motivation to try out the Big hike.
I say try out because I wasn't sure I could even do the 5 mile hike!
The 74 degree weather we were expecting was much closer to the low 80s...and I had foolishly only packed one water bottle for each of us.
A dear friend of mine and I decided it was worth the shot to set out with the Big hike and to plan on turning back if it got too hard.
Um, can I say that it started OUT hard?
Uphill from the beginning and completely exposed, much like the path here.....with a few more trees off to the side.  Natalia was a mess....crying about 15 minutes in....
and MAN, it is quite hard to motivate a little person when you're not feeling motivated yourself. 
I think I asked my friend if we could turn back atleast 3 times.......she kept telling me how funny I was.....I kept trying to stress that I was dying, NOT a laughing matter in my book!
We ended up finding a turn off that would lead down to the original paved road....after our 1 mile uphill detour....we were now set to finish our 2 mile walk around the reservoir.

My boys however were in for more adventure.
They were headed for the top of the rim...in the next photo, picture us down by the water....and they would be on the trail hidden way up in the top of the hills.....and it went UP and down, and UP and down for the entire time.
I will say that the boys seemed to do much better without me there, since Jarrod said they NEVER complained on the last hike, and this time they were all over me asking me to stop, or turn back, etc.  (and I was only with them for the FIRST mile!) 
The momma bear in me wondered if I had sent my baby boy to be tortured, not by the hiking leads, but by the terrible hills.  Since I knew I didn't have the endurance to climb more than a mile of those hills, how did I expect my 6 year old, only 9 months after his surgery to do so??
I prayed, and wondered, and prayed some more....hoping Merrick wasn't up there dragging or complaining, or just plain needing me.  Sweet Ian is a firstborn, I don't worry about him as much, I know he'll muddle through and complain later ;)

Eventually, I called one of the leaders to see how they were doing and they ended up meeting up with us at the park only an hour and a half or so after our own hike ended.
They made great time. 
And the leaders didn't hear a peep out of my boys. 
I was SO grateful, and I couldn't wait to see them.
Ian approached me first and told me about the shortcut that tacked on an additional mile to their trek. 
Merrick stopped off at a bathroom so I waited a bit longer to see him.
Even from 50 yards away I could see him trying to compose himself, his face twisting up as he bit his lip.
I thought, "Oh man, all did not go as easily as he had lead on." 
He burst into tears when he saw me.
It broke my heart.  He sobbed about how much he was hurting and how hard the hike had been, etc, etc.
I rubbed his fuzzy head and told him how proud I was....all the while fighting back my own tears.
I hadn't mentioned his ordeal to anyone yet because I didn't want him to have to 'wear' that as a sign, or to feel like he had an out to give up too easy.
But as tough as I may seem I melted with him as he let loose in my arms.  He was a bone-weary, boy with an achy leg.  Even after so many months he has so much more to go through to fully recover. 
Please pray with me that we know how hard to push him.  
We've talked so much about needing to 'break down' muscle in order to build them back stronger.  But it's not an easy process. 
And the Mommy Factor (you know the thing that made him burst into tears on seeing me...) gets in the way.
I have to be tough enough to help him, yet gentle enough to be able to comfort him when he needs it.
Today I let him cry and I told him we'll take each hike as it comes.
Most of them won't have those kinds of hills.
I don't want him to think it's ok to go on the Little's hike because he's scared.   
Isn't that a lesson for us all?
I may have reservations about my own abilities, but with someone who believes in me.......anything can be possible.
God heal us all from our disbelief!
and
may I be a backbone for them when they need to see Your strength, Lord.

1 comment:

The Ballard Family said...

Nikki,

What a beautiful place you got to hike! I am proud of you and Merrick! I think this is a great lesson for you both to believe in yourselves a little more. Sure, the poor boy is still healing, but what a great life lesson to him to press on and persevere so that in the end he will be STRONGER...and so will YOU! Good job mama!!