I recently spent a week in the mountains with my husband and son. It was cathartic, beautiful and enchanting as only the mountains can be and it was just what we needed: fresh air, time away from computers and phones with cell service, exercise and most of all, together time.
When we first arrived in Colorado, my heart was nearly ripped out of my body when my son declared “it’s so great to be back home”! See, we used to live there. While we only lived there for a short time, my son connected with the beauty and the closeness to nature. The mountains, air and relaxed way of life resonated with him to his very core. After arriving we didn’t even pass go and we were on a hike in our old stomping grounds. As usual, I was bringing up the rear! As I watched my son charge up the mountain and declare how happy he was to be home again, I realized that he knows how to “take it all in” so to speak. He didn’t miss anything! He remembered the rock structure like it was his own hand. He remembered the secret way to the very top of the rock without our help. He remembered the old route that he loves to take on the way down. He remembered and communicated thoroughly the way the sky looked and the brilliant blue that was the backdrop for the rolling clouds. Through each and every step I could see my son sucking in the new and charged energy. It was as if he was breathing in new life with each and every breath.
As the days passed I continued to be astonished with my boy’s love of life and nature and his thirst for experiences both old and new. I watched him (with a great deal of envy) learn to ski in just a couple of days. By day four on skis, he was traversing the mountain with ease and with a confidence that seemed far greater than what any nine year old should reasonably be capable of shouldering! We were all skiing together on our last day and again, I was bringing up the rear. As I would catch up, he would belly laugh so hard and ask, “mom, what took you so long?”
Skiing behind my son was just as educational and fulfilling as hiking behind him! I watched him forge new territory on the terrain covered in fresh snow. I watched him race like he had been on skis since birth. I watched him carve lines that I could only wish to do! Then I watched in shock and awe (and sometimes horror!) as he went off the trails and raced between the trees and took jumps to hit the groomed path again. Fearless! This was beyond courage as he was never afraid or uneasy or hesitant. To him, it was just a new adventure and the most exciting way down the mountain. He was just doing it as it should be done (according to him!).
On the final run, it was clear to me that this was how my son is going to live his whole life. Just like on that hike and racing down that mountain, he is going to live a fearless, action packed and engaged life. He will take nothing for granted and will always soak in what is around him, whether he realizes it or not! He will see beauty in everything and anything. He will always breathe in and take in what he needs to reinvigorate his soul and exhale what he needs to release. As I followed him down the mountain on that last run I realized that he was leading me by example. When he turned back the last time to giggle at me before his last sprint, I paused to engrave that picture in my memory bank and then I skied as fast as could behind him. I never caught him but I did some of the best skiing I have ever done in my life. For a few minutes I felt that same freedom and lust for life and adventure as my son and you know what? I liked it. I liked it a lot.
The moral at the end of our trip for me was to watch and learn and then execute. My nine year old is leading me by example and I have made a deep seeded promise to myself (and to him too!) to watch, learn and live my life by the example he sets for me each day. He doesn’t miss a beat or a moment and I don’t want to either. So, I have buckled up and I am ready for this ride with him. If he continues to forge ahead with the same speed and gusto as he raced down that mountain, this is going to be a hell of a ride… for all of us!
With Love and Gratitude,