(This post was inspired by the blog Mondays With Mac. She’s hosting a carnival this week that asks bloggers to compare Motherhood to a place they’ve traveled and send back a postcard to moms-to-be. So maybe this is more like a letter. Whatever.)
I’m writing from the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. At nearly 20,000 feet it towers above the plains around it, beautiful and amazing. It looks so smooth and graceful from a distance. It tempts you, tugs at your heart-strings until you simply have to climb it. You know in your heart that you were meant to climb it and that somehow life will be better once you have. It’s a “walk-up,” meaning that anyone can do it. People think this means that it will be easy, that they don’t need to prepare themselves. Many people seem to think, before they start, that they will just stroll to the top, with no pitfalls or struggles along they way. If they hear that others had a hard time, they figure that they themselves won’t have any problems.
It is, in fact, incredibly challenging. The first day is exciting, but reality hits you pretty quickly. It rains much of the time as you walk through the jungle, so you’re constantly wet. Even if it stops raining for a brief time, there’s just a constant stickiness about the air that seems to cling to you. The whole thing is messy, messier than you expected. You can’t seem to get clean. In fact, you’re dirtier than you ever remember being. And forget about a shower.
But it’s so beautiful that you vacillate between wallowing in your dirtiness and staring in constant awe of the beauty around you. This is what you might call the honeymoon phase. You feel so lucky to be here, you love the mountain, you love the mess. Already you feel like a different person. Already the mountain has changed you. Continue reading »