Taylor and Kole had hiked on ahead of us into Deep Gap. They found an empty tent site and started a fire. It isn’t often that we are alone when we set up camp, but this was a spot, perfect for us to have a family talk.
Ryan asked Taylor where he would choose to live if he had a choice. He said California. I asked him why he would choose to live all the way out there. He had good reasons, but the part that pricked my heart was why he wouldn’t choose to live near New Hampshire. I completely understand that he is young, that this conversation was hypothetical, that I shouldn’t overreact to such… But all of the sudden I found myself in tears. Reality set in at that exact moment… time is passing way to fast.
I know that almost all moms have moments like these, but there are multiple layers to my emotions. I saw the look in Ryan’s eyes. He has missed so many moments of Taylors life and the sadness was sweeping over his face at this moment. After all of the separation our family has experienced, we are finally together, finally whole, finally becoming healthy… and in such a short time, Taylor will leave, and we will likely never be “seven” again. Change is coming, and it should, but the weight of all that we have lost feels so heavy right now. It is crushing.
Furthermore, all of the change in our lives have left our children rather rootless. Our kids have experienced things in their lives that have left them a little rough around the edges, a little calloused, and often misunderstood. I want so badly for my kids to have never experienced all that they did, but I cant take back all of those years. We don’t get do-overs in life. Like learning to march to the beat of a different drummer, the settled rhythm of life in our small town feels completely foreign to Taylor. He said, “It is good, but it is a day late and a dollar short.”
So out here on the trail, I am faced with two choices. Focus on all the time that we have lost, or focus intently on the time that we have to spend together as a family of seven. If home is where the heart is… we are going to focus on the heart! As much as we have lost, there are few who are granted such an extravagant opportunity to spend this much time as a family. This is the intended purpose of this trip.
Not all of our conversations are going to be easy to have… like this one, some will be magnifying glasses on things that we have done and regret, but the truth is that with each conversation comes the opportunity to grow and become stronger. If we are intentional about listening, allowing true and deep feelings to be shared, we are confident that we will look back on these days with little or no regret. To have this opportunity is a gift worth every uphill step, worth every ache and pain, worth the weight on my back.