Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Perfect Moment

Perfect moments aren't free. They are earned. And sharing a perfect moment with six other people is uncommon enough that it ought to be remembered. And cherished.

This particular perfect moment came during a very long and trying day trip where grumpiness was contagious, fears abounded, and whining was nearly constant.

R was worried about her Daddy's driving on the twisty mountain roads and did a lot of brainstorming about what would happen if the van fell off the road. J became paranoid about the mosquitos that we met at our beautiful picnic spot that was officially renamed "Mosquito Meadow." They both started crying over the loud thunder that threatened to overtake us.

But, we continued on our not so merry way. Listening to J's continued cries because some of the mosquitos had joined us in the van. He kept insisting that he was going to die.

Amidst all this joyful family togetherness, we finally reached our destination. Of course, we didn't know exactly where we were supposed to go (and we didn't stop to ask directions).  And it took us a good 40 minutes to change into swim suits, locate hats, make sure we had all necessary supplies packed in the backpack, change the baby, water the dog (of course we brought the dog with us--5 kids is not quite enough chaos for us), and get B situated in the hiking backpack. By this time, I was tired. Really tired. And grumpy.

Then R started worrying about getting dirty. Which was odd. She gets dirty most every day. And by the time we got to the trail head that seemed to lead where we wanted to go, B had alerted the entire mountain side to her presence with her crying. She did NOT want to be in the backpack. But you just can't hike very far with a babe in arms. I tried.

So here we were at the beginning of our hike, and I was ready to pack it all up and head for home. I was done with the whining, and the fears, and the crying, and the bickering. I was done trying to manage it all. This was decidedly not fun. Not in any way.

But we still didn't quit. The turning point came as a result of R's very social and imaginative personality. She made friends with the mud. Which we were walking on. Named him squishy. She said he was sleeping. "He'll be surprised when he wakes up. He'll say, 'Huh?! Who walked on me?'"

I love that girl. After that, the hike was downright enjoyable. Reminded me how very much I love hiking.

We didn't find any hot springs, per se, but we found a beautiful, secluded lake which was fed by hot springs.

Which wasn't quite what we expected for a lake. No easy access. No nice sandy beach. But, like everything else this day, we forged ahead anyway. We took the road less traveled by (for those with lots of kids, anyway). And we found a great spot to sit and soak our feet. 

That was the moment that made it all worth it. The moment that made all the effort, frustration, grumpiness, and yes, even the crying fade away into oblivion. Because none of that mattered. It was unimportant and not worth remembering. But this moment, where I was sitting on the edge of a rock with my family, our feet dangling in the warm water of a hot spring-fed mountain lake, this moment I will remember forever. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

So we lingered just to soak it all in. We talked about God and all the beautiful things He sends our way. We talked about memories and seizing the moment. We each took a turn with J's fishing net in an attempt to catch him a fish, even though we knew it was hopeless. We enjoyed how the sounds of nature harmonized with the sounds of our laughter. Because we were the only people there.

After a while, with the storm clouds looming ever darker, we decided to pack it up and head back to the van. Where we finally talked to someone who knew the area and told us where the main hot springs were. They were just across the river from where we parked. Ohhh. So even though the light was fading, we stopped there, too.

S claimed it was her new favorite spot ever.

Then we hit the road so we could sail smoothly home now that our grand adventure was over. But as we were driving slowly through the winding mountain roads in the fading light, with hail pounding on the roof, we realized that maybe our adventure was not over just yet. And when we were stopped by a ranger and asked to pull to the side and turn off our engine, we knew that this day had no intentions of marching tamely to its end. No, that would have been too easy. Perfect moments must be earned, after all.

We earned our perfect moment with patience and persistence. By forgiving each other for our shortcomings. By forging ahead even when the way was tough and miserable. By trying to model the behaviors we expect our children to learn. And by choosing to forget the unpleasant things so our minds would be ready to receive the beautiful ones.

So we calmly waited for an hour, with borderline fussy children, while some boat trailer with a broken axel was removed from the road. And we watched a beautiful mountain sunset. And then, we sailed smoothly home.

Where I learned that my subconscious did not agree that we had experienced a perfect moment. I know this because all night I had dreams about Baby B rolling down the rock into the lake. And I repeatedly sat up in bed to try to catch her before she sank beneath the warm waters of the hot-spring-fed mountain lake.

But since she did not, in fact, sink into those waters, I will continue on my merry way believing in our perfect moment. Where I will be searching for many, many more.


Mom said...

If I remember right, one of your family rules is "Never give up." You created a beautiful family memory by following that rule, even though a couple of your little ones haven't quite mastered rule #1, "Don't panic." That one takes a little more time. How different your day would have turned out if you had asked for directions and immediately found the hot springs! You would have mised the secluded mountain lake and a precious experience with your family.

Amy {The Idea Room} said...

I loved this post! I can not tell you how familiar this sounds! Same amount of kids and whining I am sure! Looks like it turned out great! LOVE the pictures too. What a beautiful place. Reminds me of the Uintah mountains I spent so much of my childhood hiking in.