Friday, January 18, 2013

Into the Alpine

Life is too often so busy, or we are mired in the minute details of daily life, that we don't fully enjoy the actual living part of life.  Loved ones being ill, parenting through difficult developmental stages, money all takes a toll.  But sometimes you can scramble to the top of all the thick stuff and the air is clear and crisp, like you can breathe for the first time in so long and holy shit the view from up here is unbelievable!

I'm not one of those Colorado residents who is keen to hike all fifty-something of the state's fourteeners (mountains with more than 14,000 feet in elevation, for my Australian readers).  In fact, I've only hiked one (Quandary Peak) and it was the day after Sam and I learned I was pregnant with my first child.  We had been married for a whopping month and I had just begun my second year of law school, so let's just say that I was still in a state of shock as I gingerly placed my hiking boots down with each step.  Even though the tears I shed upon learning about my new condition weren't exactly ones of pure joy, I still didn't want jarring movements to upset any important plans that were taking place inside me.  I stopped and sat a few hundred feet from the top while Sam and our friends continued, and I took a slow breath and looked around.  Man, the view from up there was incredible...and life was so beautiful, even while being absolutely overwhelmed with it.

We are home, slowly putting the pieces back in place in the life in Denver that all of us enjoy.  We are relishing catching up with friends, and it's so heartwarming to see the boys' friendships pick right back up, as if they had simply been paused for a year and then someone had the good sense to pick up the remote and press 'play' again.

The school situation had been a source of stress for months--not only have we mourned the boys not being able to return to the charter school they love, but the options for them were basically nonexistent (save for our neighborhood school, which unfortunately is one of the worst in the state).  The district had been monitoring enrollment at a number of different schools on my behalf for months, but nothing was coming of it and our backup plan was that I would homeschool the boys for the balance of the school year.  I've never been keen on homeschooling, but I was hellbent on not sticking them in a mediocre school to ride out the year.

The day before school started, I got a call that there may be two openings at the school I most wanted the boys in.  It still took some pleading, but miraculously I wooed them into enrolling the boys not only in the school but in the classrooms I wanted.  It's an academically rigorous program, something that the boys were thirsting for and they are lapping it up.  Alex can be slow to warm up to new situations, but the school has been incredibly welcoming and it has made such a positive impact on his ability to assimilate into the school community.  They love school again, which warms my heart.

On the drive to school this morning, the boys got into a heated argument, debating who was smarter--Leonardo Da Vinci (who Alex has been studying) or the fictional character in the book Jackson was reading.    Our biggest disciplinary issue for this one brief chapter of mid-January 2013 is the fact that the kids read throughout the morning as they are supposed to be getting ready for school.  That's right--I catch myself using an exasperated tone telling the boys to Stop reading or there's going to be a consequence!.

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Annual New Years Family Hike 2013
The boys are rediscovering their belongings and Kenyon put on a CD of music that we had purchased at a kids' birthday party years ago from a Colorado musician named Jeff Kagan who sings about the outdoors.  One song, called Into the Alpine, has always spoken to me.

I know that at any moment there could be something larger to deal with, something heavy, but right now it feels like we're right up there in the alpine, and I love the view.