Monday, July 29, 2013

Balancing Revelry and Responsiblity | Ithaca, NY with children

My kids are fighting incessantly lately.
They fight at daybreak over who pours the milk, over getting seat belts fastened in the car, about who said what and who had it first, and anything else that really doesn't matter one bit.

Since hiking Bald Mt. was the ultimate in high-spirited family time, I had high hopes for this weekend to be a break from the bickering that's driving me bananas.

It turns out living in CNY is a prime launching pad for exploring the State's parks, mountains, lakes, etc. Anything involving water always wins with our crew. I've heard 'Ithaca is Gorges' and my husband played football there in college and spoke of it fondly, so a day in Ithaca was in order.

Wowza! A stunning surprise around every bend!
We chose Robert H. Treman State Park, lesser known than Watkins Glen. You can follow the winding trail past waterfalls from the upper rim of the gorge to the bottom, where you can swim beneath a waterfall in a stream-fed pool. It's spectacular! 

With three pairs of little legs to look after, I settled for glancing in awe & dashing to protect them quite often. Other hikers paused, taking in the incredible surroundings with sacred silence. You learn to pause for picking up rocks and sitting in caves when you're a parent. 

There were countless little things to appreciate around me: the layers of rock, the winding pathways, the height, the depth, the wonder of it all!
Yet, how can I marvel as I turn a rocky corner to discover a waterfall, when my preschooler is running out of sight & ignoring can't hear my voice over the rushing water?

This is motherhood. The balance of responsibility and revelry.
Sometimes you just plain can't enjoy the small, beautiful things around you. You literally can't.
You're chasing, feeding, gathering, planning, filling, cleaning, teaching, warning, etc. I'm settled into this difficult role now after 7 years. I have found my way, relishing the rewards and ignoring the out-of-touch judg-y folks on the journey, for the most part. Still, moms miss things.

On this trip, I felt taunted by a particular gal about my age, hiking with her dog. She passed us by a few times, each time with a pep in her step and a grin on her fresh face. Her whimsical way was so different from mine (holding a 2 year old and warning adventurous siblings).

Even amidst such magnificence, my kids whine & argue-albeit less than at home-they still need to go potty and be alerted and I'm liable. We had a couple embarrassing moments on this particular trip, (including all swimmers out of the water and all eyes on me & my determined child).

But you know, most of the time, the novelty is enough to distract them from their typical shenanigans  and sometimes it wears off sooner than you'd hoped.
It's worth the effort.
I may just have to re-visit all the spots we discover with preschoolers one day when they're away at college. And then, I'll likely ache in their absence.

Appropriately adjusted expectations and lots of snacks are the most valuable things in my pack. 

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  1. i had a moment like this:

    we were entering disney world... my kids were going to see the the opening of the gate and the characters singing and dancing for the 1st time. i got stopped with the stroller and had to take everything out so they could inspect. the kids ran ahead with chris.

    i missed the whole thing.

    i might be the only mom ever to have cried on her way INTO disney world, but i felt like i always miss the big moments. chris talked me thru it like a champ and helped me overcome my emotion as to not miss all the other little moments ahead for the day.

    i'll never forget it.
    since them i'm convinced motherhood is the most
    philanthropic job around.

    1. oh my goodness. you've got me nearly teary. that's it right there.

  2. Oh honey, I hear ya!! If you are like me it is finding a new and amazing spot and wanting them to be quiet for a moment (well more than that would be nice, but who are we kidding!) to just enjoy it. But if you were at that spot alone, you would want them there, thinking what a great experience it would be for them. You are a great mom and give them the experiences, as exhausting and non rewarding as it is sometimes, but have pictures galore and memories no one can steal from them. The pics are gorgeous by the way!! I've never been but it's a go to spot for me next visit.

  3. Oh those "all eyes on me and my determined child" moments. So humbling!

    This place looks so amazing.

    1. in my bathing suit too! thanks a bunch kid ;)


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