We decided to go to Hotnitsa today. Getting going, as usual, was a little rough. Peatuk went to sleep around midnight last night, because we had to stay up to finish Nikola’s birthday cake, and so he was understandably crabby this morning. I think from 8-10 we got maybe 20 sentences that were not whining or argumentative. We make our own beds, I guess…
This is one of the times when it was a good idea to pick a destination an hour away from home. We put up with five minutes of Peatuk complaining that he didn’t want to go to the waterfall and that he wanted to have a picnic at home instead before he was conked solidly out for a bit of pre-waterfall rest. This allowed him to be cheerful, friendly, and curious at the waterfall- the best attitude that boy can have. Jojo also got some sleep in the car, but she tends to be pretty chill whether she is rested or not, so it was just an added bonus of not having to have her in-hand during the picnic portion of the day.
After sandwiches, Peatuk decided that he had to play in the icy water so we stripped him down to his underwear and let him go crazy catching water bugs. When we could finally get away from the stream and Jojo was cranky enough to fall asleep in the carrier- we decided to go on the eco-trail behind the waterfall. It amazes me how difficult it is to navigate what used to be simple tasks now that we have two kids. I used to consider myself a decent hiker. I did not shy away from steep hills or a bit of scrambling. Then we added Peatuk to the mix. It was a little harder- we had to think more critically about sunshine and overheating. But for the most part Nikola wore him and my hiking life didn’t change much. Now I am wearing Jojo and Nikola is wrangling the over-excited Peatuk and it has gotten incredibly difficult.
We made it to the top of the main waterfall and over a few of the creaky wooden bridges along the trail before I tapped out when the stairs turned into ladders. Jojo and I stayed behind at a little waterfall that led into a large pool surrounded by dark green trees and bushes while Nikola and Peatuk adventured on.
Part of me was sad to stay behind. I felt that little girl in me, screaming that I can do anything the boys can do. I was one of the people who went beyond the well-pounded first few kilometers of trail- off the trail altogether. But in all honesty, I am a bit afraid of heights and that is not necessarily a safe state of mind on rickety bridges with an infant attached to you. So I got over it and did what was best for me. And it was great. Jojo was in a deep sleep against my chest and I got almost a full hour of meditation in. I listened to my breath, felt Jojo’s little stomach pulling air down into her lungs. I listened to the constant churning of the waterfall. I watched the water melt off of the rocks into the pool below. I watched the ripples dissipate until the water became completely still under the next bridge in front of us. I watched the leaves blowing in the breeze. Light green. Dark green. Light green. Dark green. I watched a fish fight against the current of the waterfall. I watched butterflies dance around lazily. I had nothing to do. No book. No phone. A baby that was completely asleep. It was the first time I found a deep, contented peace in a long time. Perched on the edge of a rock, letting the minutes tick by and thinking about nothing, I was truly happy.
Then, breaking into my non-thoughts, I heard Peatuk’s sweet voice call out, “Mommy!” from the next bridge up the stream. The clear, joyful sound of those two syllables was the best mother’s day gift I could ask for. There was so much pride and love in his voice. Upon seeing me, after being separated for such a short period of time, he had so much he wanted to tell me about. He had climbed a mountain with daddy! Wasn’t that exciting? Wasn’t I proud of him?
Yes. Yes I was.