The Hill and the Choice

Today, Calvin, Miles and I went for a walk. I walked our oldest pup Eddie (13), while both boys rode their bikes. Miles chose the way to go today, which isn’t our “typical” route. This stressed Calvin out. His type A personality, tried to coerce Miles into going the route we usually take. After some pouting, a little stomping of the feet, he submitted, and we went in the direction Miles chose.

The thing about our typical route, is that there are minimal hills. No real work involved, you just ride/walk, and thats it.  You see and hear when cars (or tractors in our case) are coming by. But today, as with almost everyday with my Miles, he wanted a challenge. The path Miles chose today had hills. 4 total.

As they coasted down the first hill, Miles laughed, balancing on his balance bike, feet lifted. Calvin coasted cautiously, often checking to see how far behind I was, or if the car he heard in the distance, was behind him.  He would jump in the gravel after 5-10 feet and stop, only to look back, see everything was ok, and get back to coasting.

Once we reached the bottom of the hill, we had to climb the next one. Miles, with no words, started pushing his bike up hill, one step at a time. No words, just focus. 

Calvin, frustrated, said, “ Mom, I can’t. I can’t get up this hill. It’s too hard”.

“Calvin, you have a choice in how you get up the hill”, I said. “You can choose to walk your bike, or  you can choose to get on your bike and push those pedals as hard as you can. This isn’t where we turn around and give up.  Either way, we are still going up the hill, and you still need to move. So… you choose.” Eddie and I kept walking, as he sat back and contemplated.

Reluctantly, and again, with some hesitancy, Calvin got off his bike, pushing (with heavy breath and grunts loud enough for neighbors to hear (insert the momma eye roll)). We got to the middle of the hill, and he stopped, took a deep breath, and jumped on his bike. With a few more grunts and groans, he got up the hill, and smiled. The next hill, didn’t seem so bad, so he stayed the course, on his bike, and pushed just fine.

I had to pause in the moment and reflect. How often, as ADULTS, are we exactly the same way? We like things our way, where we can see whats coming, hear whats happening, and just have a straight shot. If uncertainty, change, or challenge comes our way, how often do we have a temper tantrum?

If I’m honest, I’ve had more internal temper tantrums in the past 8 months than I’ve had (in what feels like in) years. Changes, hills, grief, a pandemic, remote teaching, homeschooling, isolation from others…

UGHH. ENOUGH ALREADY $%*#!. Sound familiar?

But then as I sit and reflect on the moments with Calvin and Miles I realize.

We have the choice.

We have the choice in how we respond to those changes in routine, changes in our job, changes in our relationships, changes from within. 

Change, hills, challenges…whatever you are facing now, or will face in the future, WILL happen.

What will you choose to do about it? How will you choose to push through? What ways will you change your thinking in order to get through the difficult?

My hope for myself and both of my sons, is that they will see adversity. They will continue to pursue their ultimate goal, with heads held high through the uncertainty. That they (and I) will embrace the hard, with arms open, and a choice to see past the challenge, with the finish line in sight. They will put their feet on the ground, and move.

What was great about watching Calvin in that 30 minute walk, was the transformation that took place after that first hill. He made his choice to walk, then to jump on, and when he made it, he looked back and smiled. The next hill, he stayed the course on his bike. By the time we had turned around and gone back up the hills he had coasted down before, he didn’t say a word, and didn’t hesitate to stay on his bike. We all  got back to the house unscathed and laughing (and maybe sweating a bit) under the warm glow of the sun.

Sometimes we have to “embrace the suck”. Because what waits on the other side, is worth so much more than the momentary troubles. It may not get easier, but you get stronger.

Make a choice in how you will respond, and then..

Get moving.

Be well my friends ❤️