Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day


It's Mothers Day this Sunday (duh) so in honor of mothers everywhere and motherhood I'd like to write a little about the topic. I'm going to start with a seemingly unrelated story...

11 years ago I went to BYU-Hawaii for a year. It was a remarkable time in my life and I treasure the time I spent there. Towards the end of the year my roommates approached me one morning about doing a little hike. Sure, why not? Sounded like fun. There was a group of guys going, many of whom were visiting from out of town, thus we had never met them before. Good motivation right? New guys, a fun hike...sounds great, sign me up. Then my roommates started telling me about this hike--you hike for a while, until you reach a waterfall and then you strip down to your swimsuit and leave all your stuff by the pool, swim through the pool of water to the waterfall and then hike up that waterfall to get to the next one--there are 7 waterfalls total. They were so excited they were giddy. Amy and Heather (my roommates) loved this kind of stuff. They were two of the most adventurous girls I had ever known and this was right up their ally. It sounded pretty challenging and honestly, I was a little hesitant. I wasn't as hard core as they were...but it didn't take much before they talked me into it and off we went. There were 11 of us total (8 guys and 3 girls) and the hike started out like a normal hike. It was beautiful. And just like they said, we reached the first pool of water. So we took off our shoes and shirts...swam in just our shorts and swimsuits. We were all giggling and having a great time and at this point we were all loving it and it was beautiful. This was classic Hawaii. The waterfall wasn't that high--about 15 feet and the pool of water was pretty deep, so if we fell in we would be perfectly fine. There was a rope to climb up and one by one we all easily made it up the waterfall and we were on to the next one. Now it should be noted, at this point that we've been stripped of most of our clothing. We're barefoot and have no supplies of any kind on us--no food or water and certainly no cell phones, first aid, etc. I'm going to skip ahead a little so that I get to my point....

We reach the 3rd waterfall. I think this is when our little "hike" took on a more serious tone. This particular waterfall was about 55-60 feet high. The water below was shallow---about waist deep with rocks underneath of various sizes. And this time the rope was directly in the waterfall, whereas the previous ones the rope was off to the side of the waterfall. I stood there just staring at it and thought, There is no way... Like I said, the situation became serious. A couple of the guys went up first who happened to be experienced climbers, and my thrill-crazy roommates followed. They all did just fine, but at the same time realized this wasn't a sissy, little climb. One wrong move and you could get seriously hurt and help was a long ways away. One guy remained at the top of the rope to help the rest of us up--if we decided to follow. I sat there with all these guys at the bottom of the waterfall as we all contemplated whether we were going to go. I'll never forget this one guy--who was rather buff and manly might I add--looked at me and said, "Don't feel like you have to go...I'm not even sure if I'm going to do it." After a few more minutes, I stood up and said I'm going. So I made my way across the pool to the rope and started the climb. I don't remember much about climbing up that first part...all I remember was reaching this little ledge about half way up that I was actually able to stand on. I took a little breather and I remember looking down and seeing those guys below me. They looked really small. They were good guys--very encouraging, talking me through it and letting me know that I was doing just fine. As I stood on this little ledge, the acute realization of my situation was sinking in....I thought this "hike" was going to be hard in a it-will-be-tough-but-of- course-I-can-do-it sort of way. That's how hard things had always been in my life--tough, but deep down I always knew I could do it or at least get through it. I now had a new definition of hard. Hard now meant I couldn't do it and I truly didn't know if I could do this. Finally, I was doing something hard. I still had a long way up, my arms were tired, the rocks were wet and I was scared. What was I doing here? I couldn't go back down--it was way too shallow to jump and the only thing that scared me more than climbing up was repelling down. I can't do this, I thought...then I realized I HAD to do this. No one else could do it for me...and I knew it. After a few minutes I got myself together and made the climb up. Luckily Ryan (that was his name) was at the top and grabbed my hand to help me over...I still remember slipping on those last few steps and if he hadn't been there I could have been toast.

That wasn't even the worst part. After 1 more waterfall (we only did 4 total, because the rope on the 5th one was broken--yikes) we had to go down. If I was scared to go up, I was petrified to go down. In the interest of time I'll just say I made it down. We all did...but not without some drama including one guy falling, a broken foot and some serious praying. I vividly remember shaking for about 20 minutes after I made it down because I was just so well...shaken by the whole thing. In the end it was an amazing experience. At certain points I was shaking with fear and wishing I hadn't gone, but when we were done I was on cloud nine. It was amazing! I saw things I never would have seen if I hadn't done this. The thrill and gratification afterward made it all worth it... I felt like I could do anything because now I had done something that hard. It was exhilarating and I did it.

This experience is a microcosm of my experience with motherhood. Pregnant? Cool! Sounds fun...let's do it. Labor? Uhh, this is tough and this hurts and WOW I'minalotofpain. Baby? Oh my goodness what am I supposed to do with her? Ahhhhh she's crying....again...HELP! There were times I was really scared and I thought What am I doing here? I didn't exactly feel like a natural. However, now that I have gotten over the cliff of those scary newborn days, I count my blessings everyday for the little bundle of joy that was brought into our lives 14 months ago. The joy and exhilaration far surpass the work and frustration. I never thought I would love the feel of little baby hands on my face or slobbery baby kisses as much as I do. The smiles, the giggles, the cuddles, the dancing, the clapping, the kisses, the learning, the growing...I love it. I love her. It's hard...every bit as hard and scary as climbing up and down that wall o' terror and I know the hard part isn't over. It's never over, but neither is the joy. I have a new found appreciation for mothers everywhere (mine included) for scaling the wall of motherhood. Watching other women do their jobs so well, gives me strength to forge ahead. Some days are really HARD and sometimes I think I can't do this (or at least I don't want to do this)...but it's then that I imagine Heavenly Father whispering to me you have to do this and in fact you're the only one who can do this! And my confidence grows and I get a little stronger and I wonder am I here to help her, or is she here to help me? I love being a mom. It is so worth it.

8 comments:

  1. Beautifully put, beautifully said. I had a little tear seep out at the end of the entry. Thanks.

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  2. I love that, so very well said. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Thanks for sharing! This was so sweet.

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  4. this was the perfect finish to my mother's day. i truly related to your experience. thanks.

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  5. That was beautiful. Loved it.

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  6. I agree with all the other comments...very well said. And I too think that my kids are here to help me, more than I'm here to help them. Give the little bean a hug and a kiss from me :)

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  7. And I thought my little Mother's Day tribute was nice....you put me to shame. Thanks for sharing this. It was beautiful.

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  8. Thanks ladies...

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