It sounded wonderful when I booked it months ago. A long weekend in the woods over our anniversary. Just the husband and I — no bedtimes, no early morning hustle, no tantrums, no repetitive requests, no long days at work.
But, as I started packing three different bags for three different sitters, I also packed on all kinds of mom guilt. At that point, I sat down and wondered if the trip was even worth it.
I mean, along with none of the craziness of parenthood came missing out on all the kisses, smiles and time with our girls. To top it off, we were inconveniencing several family members to even make this trip possible. Doubt set in, but I knew we had already paid for the trip and Paul and I both needed the break.
Even still, every ounce of me was questioning our decision to leave when we got a call Sunday morning that the baby was throwing a tantrum and clearly couldn’t handle us being away. I thought about driving home right away, but another part of me knew that she could and would handle this.
So we traveled on to the place we would call home for the next two days. And it did not disappoint. Complete with a fire pit, hot tub, hammock and the most beautiful scenery, I felt the anxiety let up just a bit.
The next day we set out early to hike. Upon arrival, I noticed I had no service on my phone. No work email could pop up, no calls, texts or snapchats of my daughter losing it, no reminders that a bill was coming due, and well, just nothing. All communication gone.
For three hours, Paul and I were lost in a world of trails, rocks, mud, falls and surrounded by God’s great beauty. It didn’t take long for this hike to quickly become a metaphor.
We started out with an easy jaunt to see the marvel of the Upper Falls followed by the monumental Old Man’s Cave. It was effortless and splendid — much like when we started dating. However, we didn’t want to stop there, so we continued on to the trail to Cedar Falls.
It was a decent challenge — around 3 miles — but we were up for it — just as we knew we were ready for marriage. It was a simple trail that gave us time to talk about everything and nothing at the same time. But as the falls got closer, we realized that once we saw the miraculous falls, we would need to make the trip back.
And my husband and I, it’s not that we are inactive people, but, unfortunately, you don’t see us at the gym on the regular. So, by the time we reached the glorious water pouring down from the faces of the stone, we were tired. Like just had a baby tired.
Knowing we still had to make the trek back and wanting to change it up a bit, we decided to take a different route back — and everything was different — like adding a second kid in the mix. It was no longer a steady walk in the woods but rather climbing up roots of trees, sliding down mud filled patches, and figuring out which path was the best way.
From time to time, we would stop and take a break — just him and I enveloped in the beauty of the stone that was carved away perfectly by streams of water over the patience of many years. Patience that cannot be learned from one small trickle of water but built over time of trust and consistency.
Up above, leaves of red, orange, and yellow reached towards the heavens like shouts of praise at the accomplishments of the beauty below.
And what was below is what really caught my eye. You see, just as our fingers interlaced to cross several dreadful bridges along the trail, many roots of those same colorful trees intertwined grasping on to anything that would allow them to keep growing and crushing anything that might be in the way. The had become part of each other relying on one another to get through the weather and water that would come through.
Regardless of how tired we were, those breaks pushed us on giving us strength to keep going. And out there on that path, I surrendered my guilt of leaving my babies. Because, if only for a few minutes, those breaks allowed us to take our mind off of the exhausting trail and revealed to us the true value of the views around.
And regardless of the stress, work and doubt that preceded that trip, it is clear to me that the beauty that was built in that break rejuvenated the worth of our everyday voyage.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.