kayaking with kids


Life with kids is no easy feat, and I have learned that it is absolutely true what they say about it taking a village to raise them. My village is amazing in that they love my kids with all of their hearts and they show up for us anytime we really need them.

Sunday we craved solitude on the river in our kayaks beneath the snowy mountains, and so my sister gladly came to our house where she stayed with the youngest bear cub so that we could take the oldest one and lose cell service for a while.

We don't always take Jace with us. In fact, most of the time we use kayaking as our date night. Because the thing about small kids is that they take so much work, and the truth is that you lose a little bit of the peace you would otherwise experience when you take them with you on your adventures. Where kayaking with just Dan and I is an entirely spiritual and unwinding experience, kayaking with a child in my lap is utterly dissimilar. Rather, it turns into a learning experience instead. It is a learning experience for him and for me.

Kayaking with a child in my lap entails a lot of imagination. We bomb pirate ships and shoot at the geese flying above us with our thumb and forefinger guns. We learn to use our respectful words when we are extremely frustrated because mom is accidentally splashing us with water while she paddles, or clumsily smacking us in the head with the oar because we won't sit very still. I dig for my patience when he doesn't sit very still because I am trying my hardest to paddle against the current out of a narrow dugway, and then I apologize afterwards because I wasn't very patient after all. We learn about ducks and what they eat, about how christmas trees are called pine trees, about where sharks live, that they aren't swimming beneath us in rivers and lakes. I sing disney songs and he tells me to "be quiet mom!". We talk about what kind of cake he would like for his birthday party this year. The quiet that I crave eludes us through it all and my knees become sore because I can't maneuver them into a different position while he shares the kayak with me.

It's a lot of work and a lot of learning for us all. But I am constantly reminding myself that my boys need these experiences. While it's harder for us to bring them along on our adventures, I am well aware that these are the days that they need the adventures the most. I want so badly for our boys to grow up longing for the mountains and the rivers the way that we do. I hope for them to rise above fear and to continually be humbled by nature and all of the lessons that it has to teach us.

There is a hashtag on instagram (proud hashtagger here!)(is hashtagger a word?) and it is, the hashtag, #IWasBornWild and it is becoming one of my favorites. In a few years Jace will be old enough to paddle his own kayak and Beck will be the one sharing ours. And a few short years after that they will both be paddling alongside us. And the only way to ensure this happens with smoothness is that we start teaching them now, while they are young and easy to mold and adapt, while they are at an age of soaking up life like a sponge soaks up water.

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