Mountain Mama: More Than Enough
My entire life I have felt mediocre.
Sports were a central focus in my home growing up as my dad was an award-winning high school soccer coach and I have four brothers. I sat the bench in soccer. I was last at every track meet. The only position I could get on the basketball team was manager.
You see, I was always last place, the benchwarmer, or the team manager. I never took first, started a game, or ever MVP. If I got an award, it was the award for, “best attitude.” This was hard for me in my youth.
I do not resent my parents for sports being such a central focus in our home. I do love a good soccer match. I love seeing the insane athleticism of professional football players. I understand the importance sports can be in character development. I am grateful for the teammates, coaches, and friends made along the way. I simply wish I would have done more to find what I genuinely loved sooner.
As I got older, I found a true love for the outdoors. Growing up we rarely went hiking or camping. We did some, but typically the only hiking or camping I got was the annual girls camp with other teenage girls from my church each summer. Although I did not hike often, I remember feeling strong whenever I would be in the mountains. While I was there it did not matter if I was the strongest, fastest, or most skilled. It was not a competition. I could just be me. I had permission to not excel.
It was in the mountains that I felt like being mediocre was more than enough.
Mountain Mama accepted me for who I was. She accepted me for what I could not do, just as much as for what I could do. The important thing was to just be there with her.
She not only accepted me, but she also helped me to build resilience. I always thought I was a resilient person. By pushing through the feelings of not measuring up in my youth, I thought I was being resilient. I thought resilience meant grinning and bearing it until the difficulty had passed. We often think that resilient people are ones who have been through a lot and made it out on the other side just scraping by.
Resilience is the exact opposite of all that. Resilience is learning the skills necessary to not only make it through, but to make it through stronger and to better cope with future difficulties. It is like hiking a mountain peak and feeling like you cannot go any further. Your feet hurt and it seems too steep, too long, too hard to finish, but you somehow find the strength to make it to the top. When facing life’s peaks, you can now conquer them because you have strength and experience to draw from.
When faced with life’s challenges of death, multiple miscarriages, and loss of work, I remember the lessons learned in the mountains. I remember that I am not being buried; I am being planted. While sitting among the wildflowers I remember the words of Lady Bird Johnson, “Where flowers bloom so does hope.” I remember that just as the leaves fall making way for snow, the sun comes out giving rise to spring. Each difficulty I have faced will also pass.
I am grateful for the outdoors in teaching me that simply existing is enough. You do not have to be the fastest. You do not have to be the best. You can just be.
I am TaLisha, Creator of Utah Mountain Mama. I am a mama of two with a degree in Psychology and professional experience in family, child, and human development. My goal is to give practical information for the everyday mama (& papa) about where to take your children on adventures in Utah, and how to use these adventures to develop physical, mental, and emotional wellness in your children (and yourself)! Visit my website, www.utahmountainmama.com or find me on Instagram @utahmountainmama.