“Just get out the door. Just get out the door,” I chant to myself as things start to look bleak for our afternoon adventure. In a perfect world, our kids jump up, excited to get out the door and explore. The reality, however, usually consists of a whole lot of whining.
“I don’t want to go,” says Rachel, our oldest. “That doesn’t sound fun. Do we have to?”
I sigh, count to ten and then looked at my daughter. “Yes. We really need to get outside. We are going and I want absolutely no more complaining. You’ll feel better when we get there.” The longer we go without hiking, the harder it is to get everyone motivated.
Rachel looks at me doubtfully, but nods realizing she’s lost this battle and heads toward the bedroom to change into her hiking pants.
We have been staying with my parents in Utah for over a week and this was the first opportunity we had to get outside on a hike. With Little Cottonwood Canyon only about 20 minutes away, I feel like a complete failure because it has taken us so long to carve out an afternoon to get up there. We are advocates for an active, outdoor, adventure, family-oriented lifestyle so what does that say about me when I can’t even get us out the door in over a week?
It says that life in Suburbia is hard and we are cheaters.
There’s something about being in a house (luckily not my own) that makes me lazy. As a family, its so much easier to spread out into the far corners of the house and be completely unaware of each other. The kids are upstairs playing nicely, so I’ll jump on my laptop for a few minutes and suddenly an hour goes by and I have no idea what anyone else doing. Its much easier to let the kids stay inside and play with toys than it is to grab our gear and hit the trails. Its even easier to let grandma play with the kids while I “get things done”.
I just don’t trust myself in a “normal,” suburban lifestyle. I don’t have the willpower to get us outside and exploring from a house, and I love how much we’ve been able to explore over the last two years from our Airstream. Its cheating. We don’t have to deal with soccer, or cub scout meetings, or neighborhood friends, or all the other distractions that pull us away from each other and use up all of our time. Don’t get me wrong – those things can be good. They just aren’t what is best for us right now.
As we hike up the hill towards Cecret Lake, I watch my kids break up ice in the frozen stream, and stare with wonder at the sky as it starts to snow. They run up the trail with their cousins, and for the first time in over a week I start to relax. I knew we’d all feel better after a little outdoor therapy, but I never realize how much better until we get there.
Rachel looks over at me and smiles. “Thanks for bringing us up here,” she says. “Its so nice to be back outside!”
I know exactly what she means.