Max and I had a little adventure the day after his birthday. Just the two of us.

Since in our church the big “12” means that boys get ordained to get the Priesthood (read more about this here), I wanted us to do something he’d always remember. I mean, being blessed with “the power of God” is a pretty big deal and I want him to take it so seriously.

So somewhere amidst the myriad of “ideas to make it memorable” I gathered by asking around throughout the year, one stuck. I mean, really stuck. The idea was to take him to hike to the highest point where we live. (Thanks to whoever gave me this idea…I can’t even remember who it was after getting so many different ones!)

We live in a flat desert. But there’s this mountain right in the middle of the valley that boasts having the highest peak. And although our family has hiked parts of it before, we’ve never been to the tippy top.

So, the day after his birthday, Max and I pried ourselves out of bed at 4:30 a.m.

I had made what we were going to do very vague for Max because let’s face it, getting up before sunrise and hiking a mountain wasn’t exactly what he asked for for his birthday. The idea was to watch the sunrise from the mountain, but since we got out a little late we watched the pink fingers of wispy clouds stretch across and light up the huge gray sky as we drove. Then we watched them paint the whole sky golden. It was gorgeous.

Now, just because I’m painting a picture of the beauty of the hike don’t let it fool you that it was all fun and games. I’ll just give the rundown of the hike in numbers:

Number of times I assured Dave Max would love it and surely wouldn’t complain: 3
Minutes into the hike I realized I was wrong: 3
Number of times Max hyperventilated because it was so hard: I lost count after 37
Number of tiny rocks Max dumped out of his shoes at various intervals: 23
Number of times Max claimed he was going to throw up: 1
Number of times Max claimed he was going to fall off the mountain: 2

(To his credit, I must admit it was way harder than I thought it’d be. It was easy until we got to the part where we had to literally scale rocks to get up past the summit to the highest peak.)

Number of times I thought maybe we should turn back…I mean, he is only twelve, right?: 0
(The whole key of the adventure was for it to be tough.)

Number of times Max claimed this had to be the top of the mountain and it wasn’t: 4

This is a picture I took off the internet because mine don’t make it look that steep.
See that little guy hiking in the lower left corner? That was us.

BUT, we made it. And it was gorgeous. And so well worth it in both our minds. (It was pretty exhilarating to be at the top.)

We sat at the top of that mountain and had a little talk about how being at the highest point of the valley symbolized the height of importance of the Priesthood and how I hoped he’d always honor it. And when life gets tough, it’s important to just put your shoulder to the wheel and work, because what a great feeling you have when you work through the tough stuff.

There were some parts of the mountain where there were no paths. We had to forge our way up. We talked about how life is sometimes like that. You just have to trust in a higher power and figure out the “high road” to get to where you need to be.

Lots of analogies up there. Some will come out later I’m sure as we look back on our big hike.

Max was even happy enough to pose for a picture: (kinda cheesy I know, but you’ve got to admit that boy is cute)Oh man I love this kid.Then we hiked back on down.
Number of questions Max asked me out of the blue about my life growing up on the way down: 5 (he NEVER does that…it was pretty cute.)

Number of houses Max decided must belong to NBA basketball players on the way out: 2 (boy howdy there are some NICE houses around there)

I hope he will always remember that hike. I know I will.Today after church he got ordained by his amazing Dad who honors his own priesthood…and I’m so thankful for that. (Never mind that Max had to wear a shirt I turned a nice shade of pink in the wash right before church…didn’t phase him.)

Oh man I love these two boys.

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  1. Shawni, I loved reading about this….what a great idea. I love that your kids are older and we with younger children are gettting these amazing ideas/traditions from you and your fam.

    I just put on that lens at the store the other day and had a hard time giving it back 🙁

    I have the D70 nad have really wanted to upgrade but latley feel content with what I've got. I am saving up for down the road.

    My next lens which will hopefully be in a couple weeks will be the 85 1.8. Have you tried that? I've heard a lot of grea things about that.

    Last thing…homemade bread~nothing beats that smell in your home. Your loaves looked like you've been doing it for years (okay excpet maybe the little one:)
    HOnestly I use a bosch and can't imagine anyone doing it without it….that thing is magic!!

    Have a great summer…..Have fun in Bear Lake if you head up there this year.

  2. You are one heck of a mom Shawni! I had a whole class at BYU about how important rituals like this are in life to really mark special occasions. What a wonderful example!

  3. Hi!!
    I'm an admirer.
    I'm reading your book right now…
    actually helped me through last week.

    Your sister Saren has actually popped over to my blog. I think one of you is friends with my friend, Allison Chan.

    Anyway, what you did, is brilliant!! I LOVED this post. My oldest is going to be 10 this year.
    Its coming soon.

    My husband and I talked to my oldest son about the "most wonderful and beautiful thing in the world" after he turned 8. It was the best parenting moment EVER. I have wondered in my mind how to make 12 important. Thanks for sharing this experience.

  4. I LOVE this idea. I am the mom of 2 boys and will for sure be doing something like this when my boys turn 12! Thanks for the idea and the inspiration!

  5. What a great idea! I love it. I love the together time, all the comparisons between the experience and life… What a wonderful experience and memory for the two of you!!

  6. What a great idea someone gave to you. I bet he did love it, what an experience. You are a wonderful mother and have so many great ideas to spend quality time with your children. Amazing.

  7. Shawni, what a great idea, I love the symbolism of you taking him on the hike, and the memories that you created that will be treasured forever. Its a great milestone not only in the church but just in life and the reality of our beings, its all about the follow through and staying true to yourself. Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. Yeah, you are just amazing! I love this! I am also convinced that you are able to find more hours in the day/week than I can. Need to work on that. Thanks for your powerful example Shawni!

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