When I need a break on a hike or I reach a summit, I look for the perfect rock to sit on and rest. Without fail, I find it; upon a smooth, cool perch, I recharge and reflect on where I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going on my journey.
There have been many rocks, on many mountains, that have supported me along the way, similar to the relationships I’ve experienced in my life.
My eldest daughter is becoming a Bat Mitzvah in a month. Amidst the preparations: communications with the Rabbi, the caterer and the photographer, I’m creating a slideshow of my daughter’s life from birth to 13 years.
I sift through photo after photo from another lifetime, another mountain and the perfect rock at the time. It’s been difficult to find photos of just her and her dad and just her and me, because, we climbed the same mountain and sat on the same rock for years, together.
Do I honor that? The truth of what was? Or, do I stick to how it is, tucking the past away and rewriting the story to match the present, on separate mountains, perched on our own rocks?
In May 2019, I will G-d willing be climbing and summiting Mount Rainier. As I train, I think of all of the mountains I’ve climbed to get here. I think about those first hikes, the small elevation gains that left me feeling exhilarated and exhausted, that now pale in comparison to my current climbs. They all matter. They’ve collected, stacking on each other, forming their own cathedral of experience, just like the relationships of our lifetimes; they are all significant, connected and relevant whether or not they exist in our present life.
The relationships I’ve known have molded me into the person I am today.
The mountain my ex-husband and I climbed together was the perfect one at that time in our lives. I will continue to recognize and honor it, because, without that experience, I wouldn’t know the blessing of being my daughters’ mother as I watch them find their own perfect rocks to sit on.