The terrain was getting steeper, blockier and trickier to navigate – the kind of terrain…
Outside Magazine called her the “Mother on the Mountain”. Back in November 2013, I had the chance to interview The North Face athlete, Hilaree O’Neill, about the ongoing balancing act between her career as a ski mountaineer and as a mother of two young boys. What’s it like to climb Everest with two young kids back at home? How does she manage risk? What lessons has she learned over the years?
Here’s the scenario I left you with in Part 2 of this series: Back in August my husband went on his first big trip since we had our daughter – an ascent of Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Prior to leaving he told me, “This trip could very well be about more than just climbing Mt. Robson. I’ll see how I feel about being disconnected from my wee family up there.”
I left you wondering how things went, and asked: Would he be able to separate himself from his emotions during the climb? Decide it is just too much for him right now, and give up on climbing big peaks for awhile?
Parenthood has this way of turning you inside-out, of exposing you to emotions you never thought possible, of calling you to the most vulnerable place you’ve ever been. Parenthood introduces a kind of love to your life you never experienced before – a love that is different than the kind you have for your partner, or your own parents. Taking our inside-out selves into the mountains, where we are often called to be tough-as-nails, can become the real crux of the climb, especially when it happens for the first time.