snoeshoe

Photo: Ali Flynn

Having four teenage girls, all in high school, you can imagine I am rarely by myself and if I happen to be, it is usually to use the restroom, shower, or on my way home after driving one of them to a friend’s house.

But last week I went snowshoeing alone…Deep in the woods.

Alone.

It took me some time to settle in and stop worrying a bobcat was going to jump out and attack me, but I kept moving forward.

Step by step, I gained more confidence and left my fears behind.

Alone…for the first time in a long time.

So there I was, alone in the woods.

Alone with my deepest thoughts.

Alone with the quiet and the sunlight peeking through the trees creating the most glorious shadows.

So as I walked along, listening to the crunching beneath my feet, I recognized that I truly wasn’t alone and an inner peace embraced me.

There I was, trudging through the pathway of white, in all of my fullness.

This alone time was a gift as I was wrapping myself up in self-love and providing a space to reflect and grow.

Who knew just a short three-mile snowshoeing trek could open up my heart to hearing and seeing new parts of myself.

Who knew the quiet and solitude would allow inner conversations to emerge and come to light.

And who knew being alone could feel so magical after so many years of always having my girls near me.

But maybe that’s it right there…

Maybe being alone is exactly what I needed in order to find more growth within… to strive to be a better mom and to think through things, really think, not the kind of thinking that gets done in-between loads of laundry and emptying the dishwasher.

 And what I realized was this…

I am blessed to never feel alone, even when one set of footprints, my own, trails behind in the snow. There may be one set of footprints but this mama of four will always see her family of six walking alongside her, even when alone. The six sets of footprints trailing behind and next to me is a blessing today and all the days moving forward.

There is no doubt the love and support of my family encourages, inspires, and moves me along as the footprints behind keep me company.

So all of this alone time got me thinking.

My eldest will be making her trek along a new path when she embarks on her college journey in the fall.

She may have moments where she feels alone.

She may feel alone on the evenings her dorm room is quiet and miss our bustling home, filled with high pitched laughter, screams of frustration, and some tears.

She may feel alone as she walks across a campus busy with other students, and miss those quiet moments holding her sister’s hand.

She may feel alone when she grabs a quick granola bar on the way to class rather than sharing her to-do list with me, as she looks on while I make her an egg sandwich.

But maybe being alone is just what she needs…

Maybe being alone allows the quiet to seep in while recalling the billowing laughter that wrapped her up each day in love.

Maybe being alone allows a sense of solitude to embrace her soul while remembering a sense of peace from each hug.

But as this heart of mine gets used to being more alone amongst the world of raising teenagers, I can only wish for my sweet girl to also know, even on the days she feels alone, there are always six sets of footprints trailing behind, supporting every path she embarks on.

Our family footprints will forever trail behind each and every one of us, making imprints along our unique paths of life.