For the past two months and two weeks, I’ve been mothering my two year-old nephew Sam, and not surprisingly, the mountain has been the stage for so much of our bonding and so many of our adventures. Seeing Sam run free on a mountaintop, explore the natural world (and learn all the associated vocabulary!), and climb to his heart’s content has been totally awe-inspiring. The past 73 days have jolted me closer to the source of what it actually means to truly be alive, and I am not the same person. I’m a better person!
Let me tell you, carrying a 36-lb toddler on one’s back up and down a mountain over 30 times (Mommy Boot Camp, my friend calls it) will certainly give anyone the distinct reminder that it does take a village to raise a child. So many regulars at the mountain stop me to say that they, too, raised their kids climbing Stone Mountain. This Mother’s Day, I’m beyond grateful to my village of several life-long friends, my special community at the mountain, and so many other kind souls that have been there to offer all sorts of support (e.g. childrens books, time, friendship, advice, clothes, food, and so much more — my goodness, that used Kelty carrier alone!) and cheer Sam and me on in countless ways during some uncertain times that are now mostly behind us as we look ahead to reunification with family.
Despite facing a steep learning curve, what a true blessing Sam has been to my life, and thanks to him, I understand for the first time (really really understand!) what it means (my lord, all it might take to be a mother—and I dare say I understand all of you mothers out there so much better! Thanks to Sam, I’ll also be prepared to take on Half Dome in July with one of my best friends (photo added later) as we celebrate turning 40. I may just have to start calling him Yosemite Sam.