Pushing Mama Up a Mountain

Pushing Mama Up a MountainI was so excited about taking our children to Yellowstone National Park. I’d been there with my family as a child and some of the happiest memories of my father, who’s been in heaven many years are centered around that area. Unfortunately, I tore a ligament in my knee on one of our conference trips and the conference lifestyle (three days standing on concrete and four sitting in the van) wasn’t very conducive to healing. It got so bad that Hal bought me a wheelchair on Craigslist in the middle of one conference, so I reconciled myself to doing a lot of sitting in the van reading while Hal and the children hiked around and saw the sites. After all, I’d seen it before, right?

We reached the Mud Volcano area and I explained my plan.

Enter my teen sons. They absolutely insisted in pushing me along with the family. “It wouldn’t be the same if you weren’t there, Mama.”

But, there was this huge mountain… everyone we passed said, “You’ll never get up there with that wheelchair. It’s too steep!”

“Oh yes we will. We’ll carry her if we have to,” they said. And they meant it, much to my alarm!

It’s really hard to imagine just how steep it was and you could feel the heat from the geothermal vents in the ground, so it wasn’t easy. At one point coming down, one had to hold the handles and the other walk backwards holding on to the front of the wheelchair to keep me from careening down the mountain. They’re football linemen, though, big, tough guys and they liked the challenge. If you don’t think it was a challenge, take a look at the photo with the title on it again. See the red arrow? Follow it down. See the red circle? Look in the light center of the circle. That is a full size van! We are really, really high!

In the midst of the fun, I couldn’t help but think about my teenage years; about how badly no one wanted to be seen with their parents. It shames me to think of the contrast between my attitudes at that age and our boys, willing to make a spectacle of themselves to be with me. What’s the difference? I was raised in a Christian home, too, and I was taught to honor my parents. The difference is that pretty much everyone sent their children to public or private schools then and it doesn’t take long for a child to realize that their peers have more influence on their happiness or misery day-to-day than their parents. It’s sad, but my peers even made me ashamed of my very wonderful parents for a time.

I’m glad we’ve had the privilege of homeschooling our children. We don’t keep them isolated from the world by any means, but neither are they at the mercy of their peers for days on end before they are strong enough to do what’s right even if it hurts.

We had a wonderful time, laughing together and wondering in amazement at the variety of God’s creation in Yellowstone. It was a visit I’ll cherish as much as the time with my father. We aren’t perfect parents and we don’t have perfect children. They get disrespectful, and ornery, and lazy, too. Mostly, though, they are a blessing and a joy to us, one of the greatest pleasures on earth. Thank you, Father, for the incredible gift of our children. We’re so thankful for them!

And thank you, Matt and Sam, for pushing Mama up a mountain! It was fun!

Melanie Winter Pic (c)2010 John Calvin Young


What have your children done lately that just amazed you and made you thankful? Let’s hear it for our children (and the God who gave them to us)!