I am exhausted. It's like when we are backpacking and you can see you campsite, but you aren't just there yet and with each step you take you feel your pack getting heavier and heavier. In my case I feel my pack getting heavier with a baby pulling my hair for fun and I let him because I just don't want him to cry. I ask my husband "How much further do you think?" but I already know the answer "A mile, mile and a half..."
For those who have never been backpacking (gasp!) it's like the "newborn black-hole", you know that shock your body feels when your newborn never sleeps but at the same time is always sleeping...how does that even work? That is how I feel in this stage of life called "Motherhood".
With three children six years and under I stay pretty busy with school, ballet, swimming, doctor's appointments, playing, feeding, cleaning etc. Not to mention other areas of my life like my family, friends, church, my blog, exercising and Latino Outdoors, I often get asked "How do you do it? I'd be so TIRED!" Which is exactly the same question I get asked when I tell someone we go family backpacking. Well of course I'm tired, but I'm just going to keep on moving.
That's why I love backpacking because we are out there in the wilderness and have no other choice than to finish. Even if I want to stop, take off my pack, sit down and take a nap I know it won't help me get to my desired campsite.
I've threatened to throw off "my pack" a few weeks ago, I had just woken up from a night of dealing with my teething baby, my daughter's constant night terrors, and my eldest's son decision to get up 5:30 a.m. I felt that wave of "death" come upon me when I opened my eyes and I texted my husband telling him our son would not go to school because I was just too exhausted. After a cup of coffee, I came to my senses and took him to school on time.
Right now, my "campsite" this stage of life is this upcoming Summer. Summer is almost here. While most parents are worried about how they are going to keep their kids busy during the summer, here I am counting the school days down along with my children. No more school drop-offs and pick-ups, no more getting out of pj's the second we get up and no more delayed outdoor adventures because of time constraints.
I'm in those last 500 feet to my campsite, I see my glorious campsite where I can throw down my pack, take off my boots and stick my tired feet in an icy cool creek and sit there and stare at the glorious mountain while my kids frolic around. My prayer in that last stretch is always "God please help me, give me strength to finish." and that is what I pray ever day in "regular" life...
"God please help me be patient with my children and show Your love."
"God please help me not be angry at the stranger who almost ran me over in the crosswalk."
"God please give me strength to finish this day, and help me rely on You"
"God please give me strength to help those around me."
Backpacking forces me to look to God in every step in life and teaches me that I can finish whatever motherhood puts in front of me. Even if I have to get thrown on a mule every once in a while, even though I might not like it. Motherhood is a one of many long, hard yet very rewarding backpacking trips I will take.