Embracing each stage of our daughters’ lives has been so important to the enjoyment of our outdoor family activities. Before they could walk, our hearts would swell as we watched them simply explore tiny rocks or dig in the sand. These little moments in the early days are wonderful BUT… the excitement that comes when they enter a new stage is also celebrated within our family. Last summer our oldest daughter blew our minds with her ability to hike some pretty impressive distances and elevations. For example, the day she truly had the “Tiniest Feet on the Trail”, as we hiked up to Joffre Lakes at the foot of the Matier Glacier in the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia. Not to mention, her enthusiasm to complete her first 5 Peaks 1 km trail race had my heart bursting with joy. These pivotal moments in our daughter’s life revealed just how quickly they grow up.
In these moments, when we are really at the brink, we have found ourselves questioning whether or not we should even be taking our girls skiing. Is adventuring with them even worth the effort?!
Cross-country skiing with our daughters has been a roller coaster of emotions. There are many moments of joy as we become completely enthralled with their cuteness, watching them chase each other in their skis. Then there are the times my husband and I have blissful ski dates while they nap in the chariot ski stroller. Other moments test our patience, as we try to complete a ski run amidst whiny riders in the chariot. In these moments, when we are really at the brink, we have found ourselves questioning whether or not we should even be taking our girls skiing. Is adventuring with them even worth the effort?! Fortunately these negative thoughts are usually fleeting, and we haven’t given up yet. Recently, we were rewarded for our persistence once again .
To celebrate my Dad’s 65 birthday, we decided to have a big family cross-country ski day. It was my parent’s first time cross-country skiing in over a decade, but honestly they did not even miss a beat. Our two little girls started off on their skis which made for 3 generations out on the trail. Our 1 year old lagged behind with my husband while my 3 year old worked hard to keep up to the rest of the grown-ups. Her stamina was incredible as she just kept going and going (at a pretty good pace!) my mind was blown.
The furthest she had skied in one shot prior to this was probably only about 1 km But… her ability to amaze me did not stop there.
Along the ski trail we kept asking our 3 year old if she wanted to go in the ski stroller chariot for a break. We even bribed her with a treat but she was determined to ski with her Uncle and Grandparents. There was nothing that could stop her strong willed spirit on this day. She skied most of the 3 km up Banff Trail to the midway Meadow Hut at the Canmore Nordic Centre. She did everything but the final steep hill on her own two tiny skis. We kept on congratulating her that she had skied further than we had ever seen before. The furthest she had skied in one shot prior to this was probably only about 1 km But… her ability to amaze me did not stop there.
After lunch she wanted to show everyone how well she could go down the ‘steep’ hill from the warming hut. Glowing with pride, she zoomed down the hill without falling . She then decided to hop in the chariot next to her lil’ sis, but in less than a km she was begging to come out and continue skiing. Our little 3 year old went on cruising up and down hills for another 2 km, always popping up quickly if she fell and carrying on like it was no big deal. She finished the rest of the ski back to the Nordic Centre Lodge for a total of 5 km. She had a huge smile on her face the whole way. My heart was bursting with joy, having just skied the majority of a 6 km round trip right alongside our 3 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER!!!
There are moments – when you’re lugging a heavy stroller up a steep hill, or trudging along at the pace of a snail, or listening to the constant blabbering of squabbling sisters – that it can be easy to forget why you put all the effort in to doing these outdoor activities with your kids. But then you get a day like the one I just described. We have found it so important to embrace ALL of the moments that lead up to these days where everything comes together, because each day is a part of the process, and these little ones grow up fast. Soon enough… I am sure my daughters will be surpassing my pace and I will be the snail trailing behind yelling “Wait up girls!!”