A couple of weeks ago, we went to tackle our first munro of 2017. We were all more than a bit excited. The weather wasn’t predicted to be too awful and if we were lucky, we’d get good views from the top. Our plan was to reach Geal-Charn near Dalwhinnie. This can be done as the first of a four munro circuit and is something we’ve looked at doing in the past on a longer wildcamping weekend, but for a lazy Sunday, it was just the one that kept us going.
And I’m so glad it was just the one. It’s not all smiles and laughter on the trails with us. Some days it’s hard and moods seem to get the better of us. This was us on Sunday. Our son, who at 5yo is seemingly going on 15 and is in a perpetual funk since he’s been back at school. The weather was miserable and so was I.
The last munro we did as a family was Ben Lawers a few months ago. Me and Keith were extra excited because I was pregnant. But then we miscarried. We’ve come to terms with our loss and are doing ok. I can take comments from mums at the school gate who don’t know and say “Oh, stick with one, it’s soooo much easier” or “Think about the extra time and money another kid takes up, don’t have another!”. I can even take the shop assistant at the local supermarket trying to shove baby items our way because apparently everyone has a baby at home. Yeah it makes me angry, but I can deal with that.
As we trudged our way up the mountain, our son seemingly arguing about anything and everything and the cloud coming in, it hit me. And it hit me hard. I’d been falling behind the other two, and on a walk like this where you have to dig down deep to reach the summit, where you’re buffeted by the cold wind, the view changing every minute, taking one step after another for hours on end, it gives you time to think. It gives you perspective. And it felt raw.
I hid my tears from our son but Keith caught my eye. I laughed because even though I felt so lost and so painfully miserable remembering, I was also filled with so much love and gratitude towards these guys. I can’t let our loss define me. But I will never ever forget.
I’ve taken a while to think about what I really wanted to say. If I’m honest, I still don’t know. It felt like such an intense day, both physically and emotionally.
So if nothing else, here’s a little reminder: Parents aren’t superheroes. We’re mums and dads dealing with stuff day in day out, all the while trying to do what’s right by our kids and being there for them. We all have strengths and weaknesses and that’s ok! We might get lost along the way but cut yourself some slack. And when you can, as bruised and as battered as you might feel, head outside and breathe the fresh air.
Life is a balance of holding on and letting go (Rumi)
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