My husband and I have been married for ten years this August. So we decided that we had to celebrate. And as many of you may or may not know, traveling is my favorite adventure. I live for living outside my world and immersing in someone else’s. It doesn’t even have to be far away, but I have become somewhat addicted to experiencing cultures in third world countries and understanding cultures, people different than I. And since my husband has been talking about climbing Machu Picchu for the last ten years, I felt it was time to put that dream to the test. Luckily, it fulfilled my need to live a life different than my own, in such a way that I would have to bend my reality each day. We hiked 26 miles up and down
incredible hillsides. We wore the same clothes for almost four days, yes disgusting, but not as prominent as you might think on a four day hike. It was grueling and fantastic, and we felt so proud to finish, although we were not the oldest or most challenged on our journey. But there was something I learned that I wanted to write about, because although my children were tucked safely at home with my husband’s incredible parents—I learned something about my relationship with them, about our lives together.
After climbing hillsides, facing the idea of altitude sickness, sickness from water or food, sickness from exhaustion, sickness from thinking about sickness, after pushing ourselves physically, beyond our normal capabilities, after having a backpack and 6.5 pounds of living needs to survive on, after feeling exhilarated and adrenalized and overwhelmed and unsure how we’d make it through… the first thing I heard from several people once we crested the Sun Gate to find our destination was, “I’m kinda sad it’s over.” Or “I didn’t feel the butterflies I thought I would.” Or “I’m really going to miss everyone, and I can’t believe it’s over.” It hit me hard because it reminded me of my journey as a parent. I remind myself that it’s different for everyone, but I have felt pushed beyond my capabilities each day of my life since being a parent. I have felt as if my choices for survival have lessened because my priorities have changed. I have felt like we are working hard towards some goal, so that I work harder than at any other time in my life. And all I could focus on after muddling through this—at the summit of my smaller journey–was that my life, my journey as a parent, as a wife, as a woman, a mother, a friend, a daughter, professional, a creator—was about the journey. And one day, at the end of it all, I would look back and see my journey. I might be proud that I had made it to the summit, whatever the summit is for any of us. But what would matter in that moment, was the flood of memories and moments that had brought me there, the people I had shared it with, what we had overcome, what we would carry with us-of each other, and that it wouldn’t have been the same journey without the people I shared with. It’s all about the journey—because at the summit you find what matters-is how you got there. Cheers to all of you today! Cheers to the journey! Cheers to your family! And cheers to mine! I love you all!
**Pictures by my husband.