Sometimes my husband and I like to go hiking. When we don’t have an entire day to devote to playing, but still want to get out in nature, we have our go-to canyon that’s fairly close to home, includes a moderate hike, and has beautiful views. We’ve hiked in this canyon multiple times, usually making our way to the top of the rim, enjoying the view, and then going back down the same way we went up.
Recently, however, we decided to go down a different way so we could see some other sites in this gorgeous canyon. We had forgotten to grab a map but figured we could find our way ~ or else we would just turn around and go back the way we’d come… if we needed to.
Our hike up to the canyon rim was nice and familiar. After making our way to the top and taking some time to enjoy the view and eat breakfast, it was time to keep going. The canyon rim was longer than we expected. As we continued to walk, with the temperatures rising, we began to wonder when we would find the path that would take us back down into some shade.
When we stumbled upon a rattlesnake we almost turned around, but decided to keep going on the path that was new to us.
After passing various clumps of trees, each time sure we were to see the path that would take us down into the canyon, only to find more boulders and trees, we asked a fellow hiker (who was heading in the opposite direction) how far we had to go before the descent began. We were closer than we thought!
As we made our way back down into the canyon we got to see some new sites, like an old, crumbling dam and a glittering waterfall. There were sporadic signs to point the way, but we also came upon forks in the path; sometimes we chose the right way and sometimes we had to turn around and take the other path. We enjoyed the new experience, but there were also times we wondered when it would end (especially when we ran out of water!). But by the time we got back to our car we were grateful for the new things we saw and the lessons we learned along the way.
Hiking on this new (to us) trail, when we weren’t quite prepared and we didn’t quite know where we were going, reminded me of the unchartered trail we sometimes get to travel as moms.
I had some definite expectations as my boys moved into their young adult lives. I had a map that showed the course they were “supposed” to take. As some of them choose a different way I sometimes feel lost and alone, sometimes I’m scared of the dangers that are out there, and sometimes I get tired of the new terrain.
However, staying stuck and afraid and exhausted isn’t the only option as you travel down this road you’d rather not be on. Sure, there are probably dangers along the way, but you can navigate your way safely around them. It’s also important to remember that even when you’re in new territory and unsure of exactly where you’re headed, there *are* fellow travelers that can guide you. And whether you see this as an opportunity or an unbearable burden will make all of the difference ~ for you.
What would happen if you embraced this new opportunity to learn the value of agency and to learn how to love unconditionally? Wishing you weren’t on this path won’t make it go away. So, since you’re here anyway, why not make the best of it?
Learning to find peace in a situation you can’t change is a valuable skill to have. There’s no better time to do it than now. Peace *can* be yours.
If you’d like to chat with someone who’s learned to find peace in her parenting, I’m just an email way (firstname.lastname@example.org). You don’t have to traverse this uncharted trail all alone. I’ve done it alone and I’ve done it with support. With support is so much better.