Spring Break 2022 Wooo-HOOOO!

If you were to ask me what my passions are—

Who am I kidding, nobody has to actually ask me what my passions are.  I love talking about myself.

Let me start again.  If you were stuck on a deserted island with me and there was no rescue mission in sight, no helpless volleyball to converse with as an alternative, and death hasn’t just yet become the better option so you had no choice but to listen to my incessant babble about myself, I would tell you that my passions are reading, writing, working out, traveling, and coffee.  Not necessarily in that order.

I like a good, dark beer on occasion, too. Especially after a successful day of travel that includes something physical like a hike or a horseback ride.

The trip to the Grand Canyon that I took a few weeks ago with my husband, boys, and favorite nephew was the best kind of trip because it combined all of those things. 

There was also an argument with my 13-year-old son that began during the very first moments of our 3-mile Bright Angel Trail hike, right at the very tippy-top, when he decided it would be a really fun idea to toss his water bottle repeatedly into the air and flop all around trying to catch it while he was about a quarter inch, give or take, from the edge of a straight 1.5 mile drop into the jagged depths of the Grand Canyon.

“Quit that,” I told him.  “You’re really close to the edge and it's scaring me, and besides that, the bottle tossing is annoying to the other hikers.”

He didn’t move away from the cliff at all, but what he DID do was let out a huge sigh and say, “UGH.  Helicopter mom.”

Well, as one might imagine, this resulted in a pretty heated argument.  It was a beautiful day during spring break, so the trail was busy.  As we had it out right there on the rim of the Grand Canyon, I watched out of the corner of my eye as random passersby started snatching their phones from their pockets in case one of us pushed the other over the edge and they caught it in a viral moment that really boosted their follower count.

Alas, neither my son nor I is crazy so that didn’t happen.  What DID happen was that he got his phone taken away for a month—just before our 18-hour drive back home, so that was kind of a big win for me.

But even through all of that, the five of us had a great time.  

One of the highlights for me, ironically, was when my entire family passed me going back up.  Bright Angel is a breathtaking trail that goes straight down for 1.5 miles…then straight back up.

Of course, I had bragged to all of my family and friends before we went, this would be a piece of cake for me.  I’ve worked out religiously daily since I was 19 years old.  Anytime I move to a new city, one of the first things I do—sometimes before even finding a place to live—is check out the local gyms and join my favorite one.

So why, then, on the hike back up, did I start sweating so profusely and breathing so heavily that it caused my husband to call down (from the tier above me, where he had paused to check on me), “Are you going to have a heart attack?”

I wasn’t sure if he was making fun of me or truly concerned, which made sense because I wasn’t sure if I was doing okay or if I was, in fact, on the verge of a heart attack.  “I don’t THINK so…?” I answered.  “I took my blood pressure pill this morning.”

My younger son, who is 10 years old and very literal, stopped in his tracks.  He, too, was several paces ahead of me, but he immediately turned and hurried back down the trail so that he could put his arm around my waist and make sure he was there to catch me if my heart stopped and I fell.  I watched him transform from a sometimes-whiny 5th grade boy to a big strong man right before my eyes.  “I got you, Mom. No dying of a heart attack on my watch!  I’d miss you too much.”

The night before, we had all been joking about who would carry this very boy when he starting complaining about the hike back up because this is the kid who has been known to say to his friends on the most perfect, breezy, 75-degree day of the year: “I would come outside with you guys, but UGH.  The sun is just so bright.”  Hikes…being outside…the sunshine…they just aren’t his thing.

Yet he was kicking my butt. I was so proud of him.

My son said something to me like, “It’s okay, Mom. It’ll be over soon,” and I started laughing. 

“You don’t understand, buddy,” I said through the sweat that had rolled into my eyes, blinding me, then down into my mouth so I had to spit around it when I talked, “I’m loving this.  I LIVE for this kind of stuff!”

Satisfied that I wasn’t going to die on the trail, he quickened his pace and caught up with his dad. I noticed at one point that my husband had his phone trained on me—he’s sweet like that, always trying to capture pictures that he thinks I’ll like—and I lifted my hand in a feeble wave. When I finally caught back up with them, he tapped his phone and handed it to me.

“I was able to catch a video of you hiking back up,” he said, and I wasn’t sure but I thought I caught a teasing glimmer in his eye.

“Okay,” I said, hesitantly accepting the phone.  “Thanks?”

I watched the video once, twice, gradually dissolving into fits of giggles that ended up with me laughing so hard I was crying.  “I’m WADDLING,” I said, watching it again. “I’m waddling like—like a middle-aged fat person!”

It reminded me of the time I was 8 ½ months pregnant with my younger son, and I had fallen asleep one Saturday afternoon with my older son, who was almost 3 years old and still sometimes fancied a nap.  I was snoring lightly and my husband thought it was cute, so he took out our old digital camera and captured a quick video.

But when I woke up and he showed it to me, expecting me to melt into a puddle at how adorable it was, I instead started crying.  “That’s how I LOOK right now?” I wailed.  “I didn’t think it was that bad!”  As the tears rolled down my face, my husband stood there awkwardly, unsure of what to do next.  “Keep the video,” I told him, sobbing into my hands.  “Maybe someday I’ll appreciate it.”

I remember he quietly shuffled away, poor guy. Pregnancy didn’t agree with me.  My older son is adopted, and I tell you what, people…that’s the way to go.

Anyway, here’s where things get difficult for my husband sometimes. Because I’m laughing, right, but what does a husband reply to what I had just said?  Does he go with the flow, stating the obvious (“Well, you are a middle-aged fat person, sweetie…”) only to have my abrupt laughter turn to tears as I push him over the edge for daring to agree with me?

What to do?

I thought I saw the phrase, “Well, if the shoe fits” start to flutter over his lips, but no.  I was imagining things. Instead, my husband said, “Well, I think you look great, but do you want me to delete it?”

Once again, he had found the perfect reply.

“No way!” I insisted.  “It’s hilarious.  I love it.”  And it's true.  I've learned to accept that sometimes... well, sometimes you just get older and things like losing weight aren't as easy.  Since I love talking about myself, I may have already mentioned that I've worked out daily since I was 19 years old.  Currently my regimen is 30 minutes a day, hardcore for the whole 30. I eat more vegetables than probably anyone else on the planet, and I have naturally, over time, reduced my alcohol intake to a couple of (dark, delicious) beers over the course of a weekend.

And yet I have a dad bod.

When I was in college, I used to look at people my age now (44) and think how sad it was.  If only they would spend a little more time at the gym, eat just a little bit more healthfully...they, too, could look as great as I did at age 20!  

Let's all find a time machine and go back and punch 20-year-old me in the face, shall we?  And then she'd be like, "What are all of these old fat people punching me in the face for?  Maybe I should take them all to the gym to work out that frustration..."

Anyway, at some point, I believe that you just have to continue being your best you (your REAL best you, no cheating) and accept the results and laugh them off when they're not what you expected or what you wanted.  I still think the video is funny.  Maybe someday I'll show it to you.

The trip—the day of the hike in particular—was physically, mentally, and spiritually exhilarating.  So many times I stopped my boys and my nephew—to lean on them as I caught my breath, yes, but also to remind them to always look around at the wondrous things God has created in the world for us to enjoy—and to try to never take them for granted. 

MAN it was awesome.


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