Today was hiking day! All week my boys and kiley had looked forward to this. I picked them up, my bag packed with lunches and my schedule on pause. We made it to Raven Run and were ready to start off on our adventure.
We met up with keegans Godmother, Emily. Since Keegan has joined our family, our family has expanded in love and support with new members. I am not going to lie, this is strange and weird. Sometimes it can be tricky and awkward to navigate. Our times together are made better by having adventures that provide all of us with new memories. They bind us together and help us through the troubling, insecure times. The smiles it puts on keegans face and on my children is why we all keep working on this impossible beautiful dream. Tangent, sorry.
So, we met Emily. We all took off on the trails. The kids had a bag to collect their treasures. This is a must for our travels. The thing about hiking with kids is that you MUST say goodbye to any plans. That means if they want to climb a hill of rocks and dirt...you say, "rock on". If they want to pick up bugs and let them crawl on their hands. You say, "what a good explorer!" If they want to run and let loose you say, "go for it!" I am not going to lie, this is not easy and takes mucho patience. I draw the line only at spotted leaves...why? I don't know, they freaked me out.
We walked for an eternity. The trail got very narrow and was along a big drop off. This caused mild heart palpitations for Emily and I. But, you can't quit, there is a payoff. We went to a Lookout which should have been called suicide rock. Through a stern voice and some limits we let the kids sit on the rock dangling their feet over the edge (our hands seemed to never leave their collars- would that have stopped the plummet? Probably not, but it gave me comfort). As we looked over at the Kentucky river I remember thinking, payoff.
On the way back, the crankies hit, in a bad way. It started to rain. I twisted my ankle (not bad just enough to add to the misery). The temp dropped 10 degrees. We took a new trail and were slightly terrified that it was taking us the long way. As the rain began coming down harder I looked at Emily and said, "These ideas are crazy! I sure hope that we don't regret this". Emily said, totally confident, "when you have the kids in bed quietly sleeping and you look back at the pictures. It will be worth it". Payoff was the motivation for the last half mile.
At the end of the day my bag is full of rocks, my heart is full of love and my head is full of irreplaceable memories. Memories, as Emily said, that I pored over that night. Thankful for my sleeping exhausted angels. Thankful for my awesome camera phone. But, also thankful for this crazy, new, weird extended family that encourage, support and love all of us. Payoff.