I’ve noticed that as my kids get older it is harder and harder to get one-on-one time with them.  So I have learned to grab opportunities when they come.  This past summer break had me feeling particularly guilty about the time I was able to spend with my 10-year-old son, Yawlin. 

First there was Youth Conference in June, for which I was gone from home for three days.  I got to spend those three days with Mack and Hoob and the other youth from our ward playing games, participating in team building challenges and problem solving activities, working through a ropes course, and just plain having fun.  No regrets on the time spent with two daughters–but Yawlin didn’t get to attend.

Next was an anniversary trip to St. Maarten with my wonderful husband.  We got to snorkel, lie on the beach, swim in the ocean, gather sea shells, shop, relax, and basically reconnect as a couple.  No regrets on the time spent with my husband–but kids were left at home.  (Side note–they did not mind being left at home at all and, in fact, have told Hub and I to take a trip ANYTIME.  They thought it quite fun to experience a little bit of independence)

Next Yawlin and Hoob were invited to spend a week at their grandparents’ cabin in the Uinta Mountains.  They got to ride atvs, go fishing, hike some trails, picnic, and play card games with Grandma.  No regrets on letting my son and daughter get some individual time with Grandma and Grandpa–but I didn’t get to go, and it was more time away from my boy.  (During this time I was able to spend time with the other kids, Huh, Mack, Shroom, and Juju)

Next was a five day Girls Camp with our Stake.  Once again it was time spent with Mack and Hoob.  We hiked, canoed, made s’mores, did crafts, made up a silly skit, took silly pictures, and did all the usual “camp stuff.”  No regrets on the time spent with my two daughters and the other young women in our ward–but Yawlin was at home.

I mentioned often to others about my worry and guilt about not spending much time with my son over the summer.  I’m sure it was my over-active “mom-guilt gland” that was pricking my conscience.  It’s not like my son never saw me.  There were days between all these major happenings that I was at home and able to be with my son, but it was never an activity for just the two of us.

Then opportunity knocked.  Twice!  I happened upon a coupon for 50% off of a two hour guided river trip.  I asked Yawlin if he would like an early birthday present and showed him the coupon.  I told him it would be the perfect chance for the two of us to spend some time together.  Yawlin jumped at the chance.  I allowed him to invite two friends because, really, an adventure like that needs to be shared with friends!  We packed picnic lunches and picnicked near the river before our rafting trip.  I made sure to bring my camera and got some pretty good pictures of the three boys enjoying their adventure.  (Side note:  These were definitely some “city kids.”  When we passed a bunch of horses grazing on the bank of the river one of the boys called them “horse cows.”  It made me chuckle.)

Then, during the same week, I got a call from Yawlin’s scout leader inviting me to join the troop on their hike to Timpanogos Cave because he had an extra ticket.  Yes!  Another chance to spend time with my boy!  I took my camera along again and got some great pictures of the boys hiking up the mountain and again in the cave.  Yawlin surprised me with his stamina on the hike.  When all of the other boys were ready for a rest, he wanted to keep going.  The cave is amazing–a real treasure for our state. 

A river trip and a hike to a cave were the perfect ending to a very busy summer.  And it helped calm my over-active mom-guilt gland.

Trying to do my best in preserving anonymity, here are a few photos from our adventures:

Three boys checking out the river after our picnic lunch



Getting into the raft

Beaver Dam

Horse Cows!

Yawlin adds to the excitement by hanging off the raft

Beginning the hike to the cave

Checking out the view

One view from the trail

Cave entrance waaaay up there!

Working their way up

Checking out the view near the top

Going into the cave

The "heart" of the cave

Other formations in the cave

View outside the cave

Heading back down

Though it was the last week of summer break and school shopping needed to be done, along with a million other things, the time spent with my boy was worth it!