The hike, the cave, and the brave (independent) girl

After lunch we ventured out on a hike. Constance had the privilege of riding on my back in the Ergo. It was supposed to be a simple hike with waterfalls and a cave amongst the glorious autumn colors.

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But somewhere along the way we got a bit, er, sidetracked. Lost in the woods with a baby on my back is not my idea of fun and relaxation, but nevertheless, grumbling under my breath, I pressed on. Down the steep, leaf-covered trails.

There was a moment when I was too afraid and wanted to turn back (balancing with a baby on my back isn’t the easiest and I’m not the most fit I’ve ever been), but what happened in that moment was so beautiful. I’m still stunned by it.

The tiny one on my back began cheering me on. “You can do it, mama. You can be brave. It’s okay.” Then she yelled out to the waiting others, “Mama’s coming, guys. She can do it.” I just don’t know. Sometimes we need each other.

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The guys found the cave and though we missed the waterfall, this was well worth the effort.

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I had to let Charlotte go on her own during the hike, my inclination to hold onto her surpassing my ability. Wings spread, she soared.

Mothers and children both grow in the letting go, taking flight.

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We loved the river so much we had to return one last time before leaving. So we ventured off a little farther down the way.

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This is Emma asking if it’s okay to let Charlotte climb up:

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This is Emma telling Charlotte that it’s a big fall and she should let her help her down, and Charlotte refusing that help:

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This is Charlotte sitting her independent self down in protest:

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Emma climbs down after I tell her to let go. Big sisters have to do this sometimes, too. Charlotte told me later, “I was a little scared when Emma got down and left me up there alone.”

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She climbs down. Safely. Stronger.
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Because though she is small, she is fierce.
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