I have so many favorite parts, but a few bits stand out in my mind. One came last night. Sol didn't nap, so he was extra sleepy. We got in the tent really early for books, all of us excited to sleep all together in our special orange home. Sol passed out quickly, but Els was still up. She's developing new anxieties as she gets older (...I'm thrilled about this, by the way...) and one has to do with new fears in the dark. After a bit of drama, I just asked her to come out and hang with us by the fire. She was thrilled at the invite. We told her that all we like to do is just hang out and chat, watch the fire, and just have mellow, reflective time. Els went with it. Our conversation went kinda like this.
Jeff: So, E. How's kindergarten?
Eliana: Oh, great, dad. But it's kinda funny because Oliver wants to marry me.
Jeff: Really. How do you feel about that.
Eliana: Well, it just really cracks me up but at the same time, it makes me feel kinda confused. Especially because Edwin wanted to marry me last year and I just don't really know if I want to marry either one of them at all!
She was so candid and honest and sweet. I so badly wished I had a pen and paper right then and there because everything that came out of her mouth was priceless. She and her brother spend so much time talking to each other, that we don't always get this grown-up, articulate side of Eliana at home. She gives a lot of herself at school and sometimes if feels like she's just riding the whine-train-express at home. But last night by the fire, she was all toot, toot, ready to roll.
I had a similar moment of brilliance with Sol this afternoon. Elie and Jeff were on the paddleboard and Sol and I were just hanging on the beach. He was just so absolutely thrilled to be in that gorgeous spot. There are a few things that are really clear already about Solomon: he loves music, he's super strong and in his body, and he loves to be out in nature. This little guy who is always moving and shaking was standing, still as stone, looking out at the water. He would pick up a stone and examine it, name it, ("This is my skateboard, mama. And this is my other skateboard too!") then fly his skateboards on a magical ramp in the sky, but slowly, with intent, with focus. I just sat there staring, luckily with my camera. I think every picture I took during those ten minutes wins a prize for best picture ever of
There is something so grounding about these adventures we have in nature as a family. The way we all love the paddle board, all want to take turns riding. The simplicity of our means, of our values, of our plan. The way Jeff and I can just be with one another, listen and watch our children, share in their moments. And, when they've been in the car too long, or are hungry and whiny, deal with the challenges together. I know that none of this is particularly profound, but it feels so solid and affirming, especially when our week days are often tag-in, tag-out roller coaster rides. This kind of weekend helps us re-root.
We could have stayed out there forever, the four of us. Eliana was in a serious state of mourning when she realized that we'd only be staying one night. As we turned left away from Flathead Lake, I felt a bit of darkness seep in, found my brain turn back to lesson plans and refrigerator assessments. Jeff and I talked about re-registering the cars and how we needed to visit his dad. Five minutes prior we'd be planning summer extravaganzas, all Dreamtime Barbie about all the adventures we wanted to have with the kids. But as the landscape grew browner, drier, we grew quiet, remembered that it's officially fall, that our days are turning cooler, darker and most adventures, at least for a while, probably will not involve the tent and board.
And that's okay too. For now, thank you Glacier National Park. Thank you for being our family friend, our fall shout out, our bucket filler, our go to. Thank you.