Monday, November 20, 2017

Summer in Yosemite: three thoughts in retrospect.

It took me a long time to go through our summer vacation photos, but I think it was beneficial, because it gave me a distance from the trip that made me appreciate it more. It was a challenging summer for me, but I can look back and recognize moments of joy, and these photographs capture a lot of them. Since we are now in Yosemite for our third trip of the year, I figured I'd better post these now.

As I looked back through these photographs from our family trip, three thoughts came to mind:

One of my greatest parenting hopes is to pass on the joy of being in nature to my kids. 

One of the dreams I have had since I was young was to take my kids to Yosemite, in hope to instill in them the same love of the national park that I developed growing up. I hope they love to hike, adventure, and just be present in nature, soaking up all the goodness that one receives from simply sitting in the sun on the shore of a river, inhaling the scent of warm pine, and feeling the sun permeate one's skin. When I think of inheritance, this is what I hope for.

I think we are on the right track so far, because throughout our time in Yosemite, both Everett and Cambria exuded such an authentic joy (as evidenced below).

I am in a season of life where I appreciate celebrating silly dreams coming true and the evolution of my life dreams.

I've journaled before about celebrating small, ridiculous dreams that come true, in addition to the big life dreams. I am not necessarily in a season where I am accomplishing life-changing dreams, but I am achieving little, seemingly insignificant dreams.

A dream that I never knew I had came true thanks to Everett. My parents bought him a red Yosemite shirt in April, and he wore it this summer on our first day there. Later that day, we were in the store, and he saw a Cambria-sized red Yosemite shirt, and said he wanted to buy it for her so they could be twins. They wore their matching Yosemite shirts in Yosemite National Park, played together and loved on each other, and all of a sudden, it was a dream come true of a dream I never knew I had. 

I wonder what my former self would think if I could time travel and offer this peek into my future, telling my past self, "One day, you will be sitting on a grass lawn in Yosemite, watching your kids interact in their matching Yosemite shirts, watching the love of your life play with your kids, and it will be your dream come true. I just want you to know that." My twenties self might roll her eyes and mutter, "Ugh, how could you be that cheesy mom? So lame." My early teens self would likely be excited. 

I am struck by how dreams can change and evolve in different seasons of life.
There are so many ups and downs when it comes to parenthood, but the good is so good.

Motherhood: Sometimes it feels like standing on a cliff. Sometimes it feels like standing beside a field of wildflowers cuddling your sleepy three year old who just woke up from a nap. Often, it's those two types of feelings all in the same afternoon, as it was documented below through photographs. These two situations provide a fitting metaphor for my experience of motherhood, but always the magic outweighs the struggles.

We had so much fun watching Matt float down the river on this raft while we cheered him on from a bridge:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Watermelon for dinner.

Both of my kids would eat watermelon for every meal if I let them. This was a warm day, and I cut up some watermelon for their afternoon snack, which turned into a dinner consisting of mostly watermelon, but it kept them occupied and happy and messy. Was it a mom win or fail? I'm not sure.

As a parent, I have come to realize that toys are really overrated. Give them a cardboard box or watermelon or music for a dance party. They will be entertained for much longer than a toy will keep their attention for, at least with my kids.

I was basking in the moment of them not needing my immediate attention, but then they sat there looking so cute eating watermelon together, which led to me grabbing the camera and taking a superfluous amount of photos, because it turns out I'm the kind of parent that actually needs nineteen photos of my kids eating watermelon. How ridiculously cute is a baby hand holding onto a slice of watermelon though? I mean, will they ever be this cute eating watermelon again? I'm not sure.

Here's my parenting tip for the day: If you are feeling like you need a break, just cut up a watermelon and let your kids be entertained by eating it and getting messy, and you will likely get a moment of peace and quiet to yourself. But then, they might look so cute eating the watermelon that you will forgo your moment of peace and quiet to take pictures of them instead. And therein lies the paradox of parenting.