WARNING: not suitable for spouses or offspring. You have been warned.
It’s hard to really express what the past couple of days has been like without potentially hurting feelings. However, as I’ve said: it’s my blog. It’s not that I wasn’t happy to see Hubby or that we haven’t had some fun these past couple of days, but this is a real adjustment. I can’t deny it: I LIKED BEING ALONE. I liked getting up when I wanted and how I wanted: no one saying “so, let’s get going!” or “what are we going to do today/what do you want to do today?” (which, does take in to consideration what I want to do, but there is some amazing beauty in not having to negotiate or discuss those things, but rather, just doing them.) or “I don’t feel like this/that or the other thing.” When I’m thinking, “SO?”
It has been a real adjustment to just talk with someone all day again. I can hear some of the groans now: YOU, having trouble talking? Yes, I tell you, ME, is having trouble talking. (and yes, I’m aware of the poor grammar there.) Hubby and I took a 7 mile hike around Jenny Lake yesterday in the Grand Tetons National Park. Negotiating what to get for lunch, then when to eat it (I was hungry enough to eat wherever, Hubby needed a place with no tourists), and finally how far to hike caused all kinds of, errr, “discussions.” This is Hubby’s term for what I often see as arguments. Not real angry arguments, but the ones that just make me ruffle a bit.
The hike was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever been on, circling the magnificent Jenny Lake, with a few detours up and around some might spectacular falls. I’ll post pictures later, as I didn’t take my cell and don’t have the ability to upload pics from my camera yet (yep, all the pics on this blog so far have been from my Droid). It wandered through fragrant, shadowy forests where we saw animals we couldn’t identify, listened to water gurgling and rushing all around us and a myriad of bird song. The trail then cut through meadow in the midst of renewal from a fire (who knows when) that has led to new saplings and a fragrant carpet of wildflower, made all the more striking against the burnt stumps and crags. All of this was intermittently out-grandiosed by the mind blowing vistas of the Tetons themselves. Hubby gloated throughout the day as he peered up at the monster of a rock that he had stood on only 24 hrs earlier. Despite one pretty painful blister (me… went barefoot in my hikers, despite Hubby’s warnings… as I usually do), it was a spectacular hike.
The pitfall were the “discussions.” No need to air the details, but suffice it to say we do not agree on a bunch of things and while I am in a particular space right now where I’d much rather drop it and move past it, Hubby needs to resolve things, “discuss” them out. After on particularly frustrating disagreement, I chose to be quiet… for a very long while. Ok, for that record: I was not being passive aggressive; I was not trying to make a point; I was NOT angry; I just was longing for the silence of the time I had spent not discussing things with people. I just wanted to walk along quietly, listening to the world around me and letting thoughts move through my grey matter. I was actually working on some of Echart Tolle’s material and just “noticing” how my body felt, what thought came and went and trying to get back in the moments I had enjoyed last week in Yellowstone, where I was just “in it”, in the moment.
Somehow, my silences have come to signal other things to my family. Though I have explained why I need to be quiet sometimes, why I need to step out of discussions that feel upsetting or unresolvable, my silence seems to trigger their fight or flight buttons. I get it. I have not, historically, been a quiet person… in the minds of friends or family. However, it is much more a part of me than most realize. I undermine my own need to be that way by stepping right in to role of comedian, loud mouth, showman, etc when I’m with people… it just happens. An old response to needing to make myself heard as a kid. It amuses some people, annoys others and makes it hard for me to be this quieter person that I sometimes really NEED to be.
Anyway… my quiet made Hubby very uncomfortable, despite reassurances that it was not any of the things noted above. He was might relieved when I found my voice again. We drove to Jackson Hole/Teton Village ski resort for dinner. On the way, we drove through the Tetons and Roosevelt reserve and got a sighting of the illusive moose, grazing in a beautiful pond, at dusk. There was one huge bull moose and a smaller female. The bull just ignored the people who pulled over to watch, the female wanted some quiet time… I could feel her pain. Dinner was amazing, seriously amazing.
Today, I woke to a giddy excitement in knowing that we would pick Little Man up at the airport at 9:30 AM. All yesterday and last night, I knew the group had arrived back in Jackson Hole (or would), following a day of white water rafting and a banquet to celebrate the end of their journey. I felt that eating dinner out of town would help avoid any potential contact prior to the official pick up. I get brownie points for this in my Mother of the Year imagination. But this morning, I really started feeling the excitement of seeing my wonderful little guy again. I had such high hopes that he would be happy and excited… and tell us that this trip had really been the adventure of a lifetime.
At the airport, true to his sweet nature… he dodged (run would not be quite accurate) over to us and gave both Hubby and I big hugs and warm greetings. He introduced us to a new friend Davis (ahh, he made friends! sigh) and then we went to say goodbye to one of the two awesome guides: Will. All three looked pretty “outdoorsy” by this point, but it was just so good to see Little Man looking very at ease with his huge pack, and himself. Suntanned, bigger than I remembered, and all smiles. What more could a mom, this mom, have hoped for? Multiple sighs.
On the ride back to town, he regaled us with endless tales of fish caught (their group set a record of 1,000 fish caught on one day: all catch and release); good camp food (“Dad, we don’t have to just eat lousy porridge when we backpack!”); monster mosquitoes dominated a lot of the tales; country music he hated, and a team song he loves; bear sightings; moose sightings (a real thrill in Yellostone, as there are fewer and fewer); fantastic, thrilling white-water rafting; and details about the other campers… most of whom came from way East of us. He told us that it was “THE hardest thing he’d ever done, but he felt so good having done it” and shared that he felt pretty desperate during one of the first few days, when mosquitoes had made his hands look like “small pox”; his pack was killing him; he feet hurt, and he was “at a breaking point.” Apparently, he wrote a card to us that “is pretty depressing”, and would have given anything to get the hell out. It was good to hear this story, through the filter of happy boy, who completed the trip and is glad he did!
When we got back to our very nice condo, he was amazed by all the luxury and ease. The classic response to re-entry, out of the wild. Funny to watch and something both Hubby and I have experienced and understand. It was only when he took his shoes off that we realized how wild it had been… stink, smell, noxious, unreal– none of these adjectives can express the smell of this boy’s feet. None the less, at the risk of being the sappy mom that we all can be: My how good it is to see his adorable face! How sweet to have him back.
One long shower AND a scrub in the sink has helped, but something tells me that this smell will take a while to go away! It represents two weeks of adventure, personal challenge and wilderness… it was hard earned and will no doubt be hard lost. As I sat looking at his clean, sweet face (as he, of course, checked out what was on TV), feeling relieved that this journey had been all that I had hoped for him and more than I envisioned for myself, I realized that this tale ends with a new sense of wonder for both of us one stinky boy.
The writing, however, continues.