It was the perfect day for a hike; beautiful fall weather; sunny, but not hot; crisp, but not cold; and gorgeous fall foliage. This was the kind of day that Allan and I remember lamenting being stuck inside for school, work, or church. So beautiful, so perfect a day for hiking, that we decided to skip church and take our 5 M's for a hike. Destination: Hollyburn Mountain.
For the most part, the M's were happy to be outside but there was ONE exception. Much to the frustration of everyone else in the family, instead of scrambling up the powerline trail from the parking lot, Melissa sulked, whined, and pouted her way up.
"I don't like this."
"I did NOT want to go hiking."
"Can't you just leave me at home?"
While still in sight of our van, "Can we turn around yet?"
Our other children were enjoying themselves.
To quote Maddy, "This has all the beautiful mountain things that I needed."
The happier the rest of us were, the more sullen Melissa became. Just as we were about to turn off the powerline trail onto the Hollyburn trail, she said something that left me speechless and wondering if she was switched at birth.
"I HATE this. I wish I was in SCHOOL. I wish I could go to school and be inside ALL the time."
For all the days I have spent stuck inside, wishing to be free to be outside, my child was hiking outside on a beautiful, perfect fall day, and wishing she was sitting at her desk in school. It was a cruel irony of life. It will be another 4 or 5 years until Melissa is old enough to be left home while we go hiking.
As the trail wound upwards through incredible mountain meadows, bushes aflame with fall color, Melissa realized that whining wasn't working and decided to try a new adventure ending tactic
"Golden Ears. Golden Ears. Golden Ears," she muttered under her breath as she walked.
"MELISSA!" I said to her; indignant that she would attempt to call down rain on our perfect fall hike.
"Well, I WANT It to RAIN so we can go home," glared the Baboo, the very picture of slouching, pre-teenish unhappiness.
"Do you actually think that we will go home if it rains?" I asked her.
"Umm-hmmm", she said; still glaring at us.
"But, Melissa, we brought our RAINCOATS!" Michael interjected excitedly.
"I didn't," said Melissa.
"Oh but I did!" I said. "And if it rains then we will just hike in the rain and have a rainy day adventure."
"It will just rain on all of YOU!" said Melissa; mad that I had her raincoat. "It will not rain on me because I have my pink water bottle."
The complete lack of logic in that statement had Michael and Maddy in stitches.
We were,however, pleased to note, that the rain-making properties of the term "Golden Ears" does not extend to our offspring and we were able to have a wonderful hike. Melissa's disposition improved dramatically once we got to the top of the mountain. She even got to feed some gray jays out of her hand.
But still; what child of ours prefers to be in school than to hiking on a perfect fall day????