Have you ever taken one of those quizzes where it asks if you’re a ‘beach’ or ‘mountain’ kind of girl? I answer ‘mountain’ every time.
There’s something about mountains. Their might and grandeur make me feel small, yet safe. There’s nothing like climbing to a mountain top and taking in the view or sitting in a valley under the shadow of its peaks.
My family recently hiked up Mt Amos in Tasmania. It really is the best of both worlds- a granite mountain overlooking the white sandy shores of Wineglass Bay. The mountain is known for its steep, slippery rock slabs which are extremely dangerous when wet. Signs state that previous bushwalking experience is essential, and only physically fit and well-equipped walkers should proceed.
I’d climbed the mountain multiple times before – without kids mind you – and was aware of the obstacles that lay ahead. Our kids had received hydration packs for Christmas and had excitedly filled them with water, bandaids and snacks in anticipation of our adventure.
The day before we climbed Mt Amos my husband and I bantered about whether our kids were ready for the steep inclines and rough surfaces. Did they have the endurance it would take and were their legs even long enough to get over the obstacles? We figured we’d never know unless we tried, and to be honest, their resilience and determination made us proud.
Now don’t get the wrong idea, it wasn’t all roses and epic Instagram photos. The hike took several hours longer than the recommended time, and our kids were so well hydrated that I doubt a mountain has ever seen so much wee. The kids whinged, fought and asked ‘are we there yet’ more times than I care to remember. We had to coach Mr 6 up rock slabs and encourage Miss 10 to overcome her fear of falling. We call Mr 7 our ‘mountain goat’ so most of his energy was used jumping from boulder to boulder. I watched on, trying to stop my rising anxiety from escaping my lips with yet another warning to ‘be careful’ or ‘slow down’. Thankfully we arrived at the summit in one piece and the 360-degree panoramic views left us breathless.
Remember the Mountain Tops
I’ve experienced similar moments as a mum, moments that have left me breathless as I’ve marvelled at the unique design and wonder built into my kids. Moments like their first step, their first day of school and the many other firsts which continue to unfold. Moments where I’ve stopped to celebrate their achievements while reflecting on the climb it took to get there.
More often than not, arriving at these moments means we have to climb and the climb isn’t always pretty. It can be rough, you may feel inexperienced, under prepared and like your legs aren’t long enough. There may be patches of extreme overwhelm and heartbreak as you watch your little person struggle, and you question your own ability to parent.
This is why it’s so important to remember your mountain tops. Take that epic Instagram photo and record the memories. Because every valley and climb requires motivation and the memory of your last mountain top will help you remember that you do have what it takes.
Hanna Udy lives in Tasmania. She’s married to Abe, has three kids, loves her local church, is involved in their family voice over business and in her spare time she downhill mountain bike rides and drinks coffee.