Awaiting the Ascent

Our family went on a rope-climbing trip on Camelback Mountain Friday afternoon, and I thought it’d be a good opportunity to introduce all of them onto the blog.

This is my husband, leader of many such expeditions. He’s a world history teacher, and runs the Adventure Club at his high school. Here, he gets his harness on, ready to climb.

My husband checks my oldest son’s harness. This is a big day: my son is facing his fear of heights. I already have my harness on, and will be the belayer for him. This son is passionate, good, reliable; loves Boy Scouts, football, baseball, history, reading, listening to a very eclectic music collection, and spending time alone in the back yard.

My lovely daughter is more often seen with a ballet bun than with braids. She loves taking pictures. Here, she leaps to a better position for a photo. She’s my ballerina, and loves writing, piano, American Girl dolls, Little House books, crafts, and cooking. She loves to serve and to organize, and if she were in charge, you’d all get your birthday cards (plus a hand-made gift) ON TIME.

My two little guys spent most of the afternoon chasing each other up, down, and around the rocks near our climbing spot. There were lots and lots of admonitions: “Get down from there; you’re not roped in!” We lost them a couple of times. I was tempted to get mad, until I discovered them…here:

Can YOU find it in your heart to yell at them? I sure couldn’t! They’d found this little cave, and spent quite a lot of time in it. Climbing is a lot of waiting: waiting while the ropes get set up, while people get roped in, while other people climb. The kids had a great time exploring the area.

My middle son made it all the way to the top! He is the only one in the family that I didn’t belay, so he’s the only one I got pictures of. He turned out to be quite the little climber. Lots of people freeze when they get about twelve feet off the ground, but he just kept on. He’s my extrovert, funny and cheerful and not easily offended. He loves puzzles and games, gets every math concept I explain to him on the first try, and then misses whole pages worth of problems because of those annoying little DETAILS.

And here he is, the four-year-old, not roped in. (Sigh) He is always trying to keep up with his brothers. He was born stubborn and driven and running at life headlong. On the way down the mountain, after this trip, we warned him not to run. He ran. We told him he would fall, and that it would be a bad fall. Not a deterrent. We told him, if he ran, he’d have to hold Mama’s hand. He walked. Real fast. He loves Star Wars. He loves playing Lego Star Wars and Star Wars video games. He loves drawing Star Wars pictures. And explaining every last detail of all of it to me.

It’s a rock. So sue me. It’s a really pretty rock with really pretty lichen on it. Amidst the noise of all the children saying, “Take a picture of me!” God whispered, “Open your eyes,” and there was this lovely little rock. Such a treasure.

One last picture as we were packing up our gear. Sunsets are never as pretty in photographs. Neither are daughters. Nevertheless, I’ll treasure this one forever.

11 Responses to “Awaiting the Ascent”
  1. What a great experience for your kids! I loved reading all your descriptions of them. Have they seen the post? Tell them I said hi! And to be sweet to their mama today!

    • Julie says:

      No, they haven’t seen it. Husband left with Oldest Boy on a Scouts campout early this morning, so they won’t see it until tomorrow. The other three are watching cartoons and eating Cheerios and leaving me alone, just like I said they would. What time did you get to bed? (For those of you reading this, the two of us were up, um… late… putting this blog post together.)

  2. mom says:

    so….are you glad you decided to go?!!! It looks lovely, fun, and…..scary. I’ll look at the pictures, but I don’t think I even want to watch them in person! Love the pictures of all the kids. AND the rock! Are you going to have a family of avid rock climbers, now?

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, I was feeling better by the time we left the house, but my stomach was still a little goofy the whole time we were there. You would not have wanted to watch, for sure. But, Mama, I saw that sunset, at the height of its glory, while I was fifteen feet up on that rock wall. Joy. Pure joy.
      The kids are in various stages of buy-in. They just need a few more successes, I think.

      • Donna says:

        Oh, Julie this makes me miss you all so much more. What a wonderful memory for your family. Our family still talks about these kind of fun trips now that we are all so grown up.

        • Julie says:

          Donna, I miss you, too. It’s killing me, missing the wedding. We talk about you and your family so often. We love, love, love how your kids have turned out, and long to find a way to follow in your parenting footsteps.

  3. Annie says:

    Want to know what made me tear up? The “it’s a rock, so sue me!” I love your heart and your personality! The pictures are lovely, and I felt a strong tug at my heart with every description of the family members. I miss you all so much, and am really really REALLY looking forward to this summer and seeing you all again. Thank you for posting. It makes the distance shorter, and thank you for taking pictures. I’m really getting very “selfishly” attached to our blog. 🙂 Have a happy Tuesday!
    (seriously), give all yours a hug from me.

    • Julie says:

      It was a very, very pretty rock. It a month that little plant at its base will be a wildflower, and the whole mountain will be covered with flowers. Don’t you want to come see them?

  4. Pat says:

    What a wonderful adventure for your family, Julie! Thanks so much for sharing it. It is great to get this glimpse into your family life.

    • Julie says:

      It’s nice to have this way of connecting, isn’t it, Pat? Thanks to Debbie: she’s been just the right amount of “push” and “support” to get this whole thing going.

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