The healing power of the outdoors

As parents, we are rewarded with love and a bond that is so powerful, it can bring us to our knees. Those joys inevitably pair with mountains of laundry, clutter, broken furniture, and relentless bickering. These are moments that also force us to our knees. We throw out our cuddle vests and replace them with a black-and-white striped jersey and a whistle around our neck.

Even now, as I type this in my home, I can hear intermittent laughing. Why is laughter alarming, you ask? Simple, laughing seems to always leads to crying – at least in our case. Even now, I’ve typed one sentence and my children have transitioned from laughter to chasing each-other around the house hurling insults in rage. I don’t know where the laughter went, but it’s not coming back for a while.

The Montana weather, like our household, can change in an instant. Like the water and sand ware away the rocks in the river, our children eat away at our patience. I can hold my ground, and I do…for a bit. Then, when I’m finally beaten and battered to the point of exhaustion, I say my final words. “Let’s go get on the river.”

When we get outside, the arguing and complaining transforms to adventure and creativity. We are fully engaged with our surroundings. Each island and sand bar is another adventure to explore. Our communication is clear and pleasant as we become a team again. We see this engagement in winter at the ski area, as well. It’s something that turns our wild children into…well…wild children! And we are OK with that. We are confident that our time outside, even though it’s not always easy, is what brings us closer together and to the outdoors.

Water brings life, and has a way of healing our frayed spirits that torment us when we are in an enclosed space for too long! So, before I can put this referee hat away, I need to load the gear and get out the door. The river is waiting, and my children are not. We must go!

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