Jay and I used to joke that between the two of us we covered every fear possible for going on a vacation. He was afraid of bridges and tunnels and driving long distances. I am afraid of elevators and airplanes. We both were afraid of heights. When the kids were young and we took them to Disney, we looked at each other after riding Dumbo and said "that was scary."
Considering this, maybe I was bold when I planned our trip to Colorado a few months ago? Now that I am on day five of the trip and starting to feel like an Outward Bound counselor after hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding and more, I definitely know I was bold. The past few months, my checklist at the end of the day had become so basic: kids fed, kids in bed, me in bed; and I felt like we were losing one another in the fog & exhaustion. I was desperate to find a way back to them and needed to know that we could feel like a family again. Bold seemed like the only path to take.
It did not take long for us to find one another. It started as we drove the windy mountain roads to Aspen through Independence Pass. Zoe is the DJ on the trip and is playing songs that remind us of Jay mixed in with songs she is discovering on her own and my kids are daydreaming out the window as they watch the Rocky Mountain landscape go by for the first time in their lives. Zoe plays Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and I know the song speaks to the homesickness for Jay we are all feeling.
As we drive, "Daddy" is weaved in and out of conversations in a way that feels natural for the first time. I was afraid this would never happen after Jay's birthday at the end of March when I very awkwardly at dinner said "let's say one thing we love about Dad." Yeah, that did not go over so well. I think that might have been when I started planning this trip. It helps my homesickness to talk about Jay so I am grateful.
Multiple times a day one or more of us is afraid of something. Steep and windy mountain roads and high chairlifts to alpine slides seem to be an everyday occurrence. I have avoided it so far but before we leave, Simon wants to do the Gondola to the top of the mountain, which to me just feels like a big elevator hanging in the air.
I planned yesterday for us to go on a half day horseback riding trip. It was beautiful riding through the Aspens with our guide and by the last hour of the ride, the slow cadence of my horse, Sunny, had finally lulled me totally away from all fear when I looked up to see Simon being thrown from his horse.
Looking back I realize that would have been the most opportune time to teach my kids that one lesson we all know we should teach our kids: if you fall off a horse, get back on. Instead my Jewish overprotective mother persona took over and our guide called someone to pick us up in a four wheeler where I would encounter the most terrifying moments of the trip standing on the back of it holding onto the rail for DEAR LIFE driving down the mountain (not on a road).
Dear Life, you are so precious. Me and the kids on this trip together coming alive again I think. The laughter, the hard moments, the great moments, the homesick moments, the scary moments. The memories we are making. Life is so dear. As our kayak instructor said today, lean into the rock instead of away from it to avoid getting stuck. We are leaning into all.
By the way, when is the solo part of this Outward Bound trip?
The song below is by First Aid Kit and is called My Silver Lining. We have listened to it many times and the lyrics "I try to keep on keeping on" are what we are doing. Thanks DJ Zoe for the music. It seems appropriate that the horse you were given to ride was named "Music."