Not everyone is fortunate enough to be raised by an Adirondack Mom. Sure, you may have been raised in the Adirondacks, but were you camping, paddling, and skiing before you went to kindergarten? I was taken camping at just 6 weeks old; proof I was raised by an Authentic Adirondack Mother. Growing up, video games weren't allowed in my house, and television was a waste of time when I had a six-million-acre backyard to discover. Looking back on it now, I wouldn't change a thing about being brought up in the Adirondacks, and I owe it all to my mother.
Being raised the way we were did nothing but teach the three of us kids life lesson after life lesson. There were lessons as small as taking our boots off at the door during mud season, or hanging our snow gear by the wood stove because that's where it would dry the quickest so we could get back outside faster. It all affected how we live our lives today. There were also three major life lessons that came about when I was talking to my brother and sister about being raised by an authentic Adirondack Mom.
Patience Is Key
One of the most important things my mother taught her children is patience. Having a mother in the Adirondacks, we learned patience in some unexpected ways. Fishing is a very popular pastime here, but when you are trying to learn at 5 years old to put a worm on your hook, cast your line, and sit still, quietly, and stare at your bobber; that is a true test of patience. Now as an adult, I understand why my mother loves to fish and why she instilled in me the beauty of sitting in the quiet, listening to the loon calls, and just fishing.
My brother's skiing experience as a child is an excellent example of a teachable patience moment. He mastered the bunny hill very quickly as a 3 year old and thought he was ready to ride the chairlift to the top of the mountain and hit the slopes. My parents knew differently and made sure he got off at the mid-way stop each time. He was pretty determined, and after years of sometimes a little patience, but patience nonetheless, he was mastering black diamond trails and eventually joined the ski patrol.
If I think about all the little things that happened as a child in the Adirondacks, and how many times our mother in one way or another taught us patience, a pretty long list of teaching moments develops. Waiting for the ice cream truck to make its way slowly around the campground on Wednesday nights, waiting your turn while another kid swam out of the current at the bog when all you wanted to do was zip down the rock slide, climb back up, and slide down again, watching my mother have patience with my sister when the family's SUV came back into the driveway covered in mud because she and her friends decided to off road -- my list really could go on.
Enjoy The Little Things
We don't come from a big city, with the hustle and bustle and endless restaurants to choose from or things to do, but we were always busy. Our mother always stressed enjoying the little things in life. Whether it was enjoying a family dinner outside on the deck on a beautiful summer night, or relaxing in the hot tub in our own backyard as the cold snow fell on our heads, we were always told to be thankful for what we had. Maybe we don't have a large concert arena near by, but I always enjoyed camping at Fish Creek, where every night at dusk a man would kayak to the middle of the lake and play Taps on his trumpet. The whole campground could hear it and his playing never failed to cover me with goose bumps. Because of my mother and her stressing to stop and realize what we had and how special our experiences were, I cannot wait to have my own kids and let them enjoy the same experiences I did.
Above all, an Authentic Adirondack Mother like my own knew that the bond between siblings was one of the most important bonds in life. My siblings were my first playmates, my go-to adventure seekers, and my role models. They were there through all my tests of my patience, and they were with me to enjoy the little things as we grew up. Lessons taught by an Authentic Adirondack Mom while growing up are priceless, and I owe the amazing childhood that I had to my mother. Here's to you, Mom. Thanks for a great Adirondack upbringing.
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