It’s been a while since I’ve written a ‘Mommy & Me’ post. I need to write these more often. They highlight those intimate moments or experiences shared with my two sweet boys. They both have birthdays this weekend. Brooks turns 9 on Friday and Case turns 6 on Saturday. It’s a little mind blowing to think of them being that old already. Time really does fly. So when I have a 24-hour period like I did this past weekend, I really try to soak it up with every cell in my body.
I’ve written before how much I love my job. My colleagues and I all wear a number of hats. While we’re considered a small business, we put our an array of publications and offer a full spectrum of digital services. One of our publications is Smoky Mountain Living magazine, where I serve as the associate editor. In this role, I blog for the magazine’s website, create the monthly newsletter, sit on the editorial board, work on outposts for the magazine and write one or two features for each edition. For the next issue, I’m working on an article about Wilderness at the Smokies, an indoor water park resort located in the region we cover. This post isn’t a promo for Wilderness at the Smokies (you’ll have to check out Smoky Mountain Living for that), but it is about the fun time I had with the boys as I conducted some really fun research for the article.
I love to frolic.
It’s a term I often use when I have no real plan but want to explore a place. Before heading to Wilderness at the Smokies, we drove a bit further to Gatlinburg. I figured we should take advantage of being in Tennessee and visit at least two cities while there. It was absolutely pouring rain during the entire drive, but I didn’t care. I had a good feeling about it. We arrived in Gatlinburg, put on our rain coats, popped open a couple umbrellas and went frolicking.
We found a great little lunch spot then walked around the main drag. The clouds parted for a brief half hour during which we hopped on a chair lift to view the gorgeous Smoky Mountains. I wish I could show you a picture of the view, but I was terrified of getting my phone out and unlocking my arm from around Case. The black and white photo at the beginning of this post is a selfie of us on the chairlift but it was right when we got started. We watched the guy in front of us drop his Under Armor jacket all the way to the ground so I wasn’t going to risk dropping my phone. But just imagine beautiful mountains with clouds billowing behind the, giving the appearance of smoke rising, hence the “Smoky Mountains.”
After the chair lift, we stopped by a Dunkin Donuts for some sweets (for the boys) and coffee (for me) then hopped in the car and made our way to Wilderness at the Smokies. Like most kids, my boys love staying in a hotel. So after they jumped on the bed, played hide-n-seek and explored every nook and cranny in our room, we put on our wrist bands for the water park.
With it just being the boys and me, the three of us had to really stick together. In a place like that, it’s easy to get lost from one another. We moved as a unit and played hard. Admittedly, it was chilly at times running around indoors in two-piece bathing suit, but I just rolled with it. I had a ball jumping in waves, zooming down slides and splashing around. Best of all, I got to see the smiles for hours on end.
Later that evening after hours upon hours in the water, the boys were tuckered out so we relaxed in the room while they ate popcorn and watching cooking shows. We had a king size bed so the three of us and all of their stuffed animals and blankets snuggled up and allowed ourselves to get sleepy.
The next day, we were back up. After breakfast and some more time at the water park, we went to the family adventure area. They had a pretty big ropes course. Case, who is typically scared of heights, piped up and said he wanted to try the ropes course. This was huge for him. For him to do it, I had to do the ropes course as well. Brooks has always been a daredevil so before I could blink he was up on the course. I was so proud of Case. He never cried or got scared and completed the entire ropes course while minimal help from mommy who was right behind him. Similar to the chairlift, I didn’t want to risk taking pictures while we were on the ropes course. That sounds terribly dangerous. Perhaps I need a Go Pro. Anyway, the only photo I got was one of them getting on their harnesses.
As I sit here and think about the weekend, it was so much fun. I am a single parent now and while it’s hard sometimes, it’s also intensely wonderful. Because there’s not another adult there to rely on, I feel like I’m hyper-focused on the boys and attuned to every little thing they’re doing which makes time with them feel more authentic and meaningful. I’m so proud of them and the way they behave. The three of us had a ball in the wilderness and I so look forward to our next ‘Mommy & Me’ adventure.