John was able to grab some time off and he posed the question of what they wanted to do. I tried my best not to let my fear show as the boys unanimously screamed, “The Rock. The Rock.” My 14-year old, Austin, and his co-conspirator, 11-year-old, Jamison, decided that they wanted to go back to Enchanted Rock. Plainly, The Rock is the bane of my existence. We visited The Rock two years ago. That granite monstrosity was where my dreams of showing off all of the hard work I had done trying to get in shape for summer were dashed, and the boys have not let me live it down. “Oh,” they exclaim, “I have been doing the ‘walking away the pounds DVDs’. I’ve got this,” they teasingly say in high voices to mimic my own. It is the place where as soon as I started up the Summit Trail, I sucked a fly up my nose and had to be instructed the proper way to dislodge it by my youngest son. It was the day that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, and resulted in me sitting by a big boulder half way up this enormous granite structure while John continued up with the boys. I was left feeling sorry for myself grasping for breath as both pregnant women and three year olds alike where actually running up The Rock like it was nothing. I can admit it now; I fear Enchanted Rock. The Rock beat me.
There was no way out, I was in too deep now. The boys chuckled as they remembered last time, and then with sympathy that I usually don’t witness, they both hugged me and said that we didn’t have to go if I didn’t want to. Jamison reminded me that he read about a cave you can explore near the summit. His eyes revealed hope and a hint of desperation, as he slowly said, “Aw, I guess caves can be over-rated.” Now a new terror was added to my already palpitating heart. A cave and The Rock. “Can’t we just stay home and watch a cave documentary on TV?”
As the lone female in my household, I strive to garner strength wherever I can find it. I slipped on my striped, hot pink, mid-calf, work out pants, did a few affirmations about my strength, and finished with my wildly-colored sneakers. “Interesting choice,” the boys’ mouth agape. “At least we can spot you on the The Rock.” I glanced down at their mesh workout shorts, “Oh, like I am so impressed. No personality with those shorts.”
As we started up the summit trail, I took precautions with my nose as not to have a repeat of last time. I started strong and established a comfortable pace. I wasn’t a newbie this year and I was wiser this time. Then smack in the same spot, the legs started wobbling and the heart beat started in my ears. “Dad, she’s down for the count” Jamison loudly exclaimed as other climbers chuckled by. John inched me to a “comfortable” boulder to sit by and catch my breath. I encouraged the boys to go on up with John.
They were all three waving at me from the summit in a matter of minutes. “Yay, so happy for them,” I muttered to no one. I took a gulp of water and tried to find some shade and when I turned around, Austin was back at my side. “Come on Mom, you’ve got this. Look at those pants, they deserve to see the top.” For a split second I was tempted to just give him the pants to take with him, “I just can’t. I tried and it is too steep.” “We’ll take it slow,” my oldest son badgered me for twenty minutes before I couldn’t take his insistence anymore. I pushed forward with Austin saying, “Do it. Work it. You’ve got it. No one can take this away from you,” as he trotted behind me occasionally running a few circles around me. I made it to the next boulder and took a break insisting that I was fine and he should go and explore they cave with John and Jamison. “Not without you,” He said smiling. “Goodness, he is good. He is really, really good,” I thought to myself.
Austin was so supportive and patient with me. Before I realized what happened, Jamison and John spied my hot pink pants as we were cresting the top. “Yay Mom! You did it! You beat The Rock,” Jamison cheered as a stranger saw my flushed face and offered me some water. I tried to whisper to John, but gave up and just gasped out asking him if he sent Austin to help me. “No, I just turned around and saw him walking back down.”
Busting at the seams, and as proud of my accomplishment as I was, I was even more proud of my son and his compassion and persistence in getting me up and going. I reached for Austin’s hand and gave it a squeeze as I mouthed “thank you” to him and winked. He squeezed my hand and whispered, “I wasn’t going to let The Rock beat you again.” Mothers and their children have a special bond that doesn’t need to be spoken to be understood.
Jamison looked at me and smiled, “Now on to the cave.”