Today we went hiking. It was perfect. These things contributed in a round-about way to why:

Lucy weighs 29 pounds. I carried her on my back up and down rocky terrain for four miles. In flip flops.

Claire got blisters on both feet…was still pretty tough until she fell on a prickly cactus thing and got tons of hair-like slivers in her hand. It was all downhill after that.

Max about died because he needed to go to the bathroom so bad and was embarrassed to go in the bushes.

Elle about died because she too needed to go to the bathroom so bad…luckily so bad that she had no qualms about going behind a bush.

Claire needed to go to the bathroom so bad that I think she peed a little in her pants and didn’t mind one bit…but was pretty stinky.

Dave got caught up at work and couldn’t come along.

Lucy decided from her view on my back that my ears looked like great toys. She scratched them to smithereens. And then went for my neck. It’s going to look like I have a bunch of hickies tomorrow. Note to self: cut her fingernails.

Grace fell and scraped her knee.

Max & Elle whined and cried because they didn’t want to go on the hike. They wanted to stay home and play with friends.

Max playfully punched Elle in the stomach in the car en route to the hike. Elle almost decided she needed to go to the hospital she was so upset about it.

Lucy screamed pretty much the entire car ride…a total of about an hour.
Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound so perfect. But to me to me it was. Because I think “perfect” is perfect because you appreciate the good stuff even more when you have the bad stuff to compare it to.

The weather was gorgeous…a little hot at first but perfect when we started our decent.

My two brothers came along: the one who lives here and one who’s visiting from St. George with his wife and three kids. And her sister, husband and baby came too. With all those adults we weathered the tired, skinned-knee kids just fine. Josh even carried Claire on his shoulders most of the time.Although Lu was darn heavy, I LOVED hearing her babble away so sweetly in my scraped up ears. She also felt the need to give me the sweetest little pats on my shoulder every so often.

Max and Elle, lately too busy with their own different friends to hang out together much, stuck together, scrambling up ahead of everyone happily climbing up nearby boulders and exploring. I love to watch them together.

Grace and her cousin Ana go together like peanut butter and jelly. They can’t be separated. It melted my heart to watch them holding hands and talking together through much of the hike. (Those times when they weren’t whining about skinned knees.)

My sister-in-law drove with me and patiently carried on a full-on conversation with me, completely un-phased by Lucy’s screaming. I love moms.

I got to be with my kids again, after missing them for six days on the cruise (pictures from that later). I adore these sweet children I get to hang with…skinned knees, whining, fighting and all. Because they’re mine. I dreamed of them since I was younger than they are. And I get to be their mother.

(I love Claire’s “trying to smile” face in this one…what a trooper.)

So, my epiphany was that perfection comes in many varieties. And it’s made up with the good and the bad. And to me that’s motherhood. Crazy things happen every single day. But that’s what I signed up for. And I love it.

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  1. I’m so inspired by your perspective. Luckily I’ve been having many of the same thoughts lately. I feel so blessed to be the mother of these kids.

    I’m SO SO glad you got to go on the cruise. Can’t wait to hear about it!

  2. Sounds like a fun hike with all its ups and downs. I love how you compare the bitter with the sweet and love all of it. Your perspective IS inpsiring. These are great pics too.

  3. Loved this post! If I didn’t have the “not so great” stuff (and that seems to be the norm), what in the world would I write about? The great is so great and the not so great really is great also when you put it all together.

    Cruise sounds heavenly!!

  4. You don’t know me…I linked to you through Kara, who I linked to through Angie B — ANYWAY, I loved this post. I take my kids for a hike once a week during the summer. Last summer I thought it was pointless because I had many of those situations — probably all of them throughout the summer. Much to my amazement, during the winter — my cutie petooties decided to talk about how much they liked hiking and enjoyed being outdoors and spending time together!! WOW — bring on the hikes this year. They are making great family memories!:) Keep up the good work!

  5. You are so brave. I swear my back will never be the same from hauling around Berkley all the time. You are such a sweet mom.

    I love the last photo of all of you. I took a vote once, in my head, and you have the cutest kids around…

    I think it is nice when mom’s can be real about how motherhood really is.

  6. Life is bitter sweet… it is the “moments” that we need to treasure forever good or bad. You are such an awesome mom and inspire me to do better. Love this post.

  7. What another great post Shawni. Your perspective on Motherhood is so true and makes me appreciate the “hard” moments as much as the easy moments.
    Great pictures too!

  8. As I read this I thought back to my Saturdays. We always spent Saturday mornings as a family, and most of the day. I lived for Saturday nights because we went out to dinner somewhere special.

    When we got older, it was such a routine that you waited to meet up with friends until after dinner. And friends were rarely invited. Sometimes it was annoying, and I’m sure we fought a lot. But I don’t remember any of that. All I remember is that we did fun stuff together as a family. And that is what your kids will remember. Not that they were whiny or tired. Just that they had so much fun, WITH their family.

    You, go!

  9. Welcome back! I thought about you more that once last week while you were on your cruise. First off, I have 5 brothers and no sisters, so I thought how fun it would be to go cruising with your parents and sisters sans kids. And because I think a cruise is the perfect vacation. You can relax, eat and see so many different places that you wouldn’t necessarily spend a week vacation at. Love it!

    I LOVED this post. Once again it proves that our attitude is everything. Here you are with 5 kiddos, no hubby and having more that one moment just on the drive there that might have made a lesser woman bag the whole thing and turn the van around. But no, you got through the tears, screams and fights (that sounds like my van everyday, even if we are only headed to Wal-mart!) and had a wonderful hike together. I was relived to know that you had brothers along to help.

    And I had a good laugh at the bathroom bits. We were at Thunder of Louisville last week and my boys found a nice bush or dark area for their own private latrine more times than I’d care to admit!

    The pictures were breathtaking as always. You have such talent! The one of the kids and you is perfect. Beautiful mom and darling kids.

    Thanks for keeping it real and reminding us all that it’s the good times in the end that we all will remember. We just have to dig in, plan and see it through!

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