My third baby is big now. Since Layna is turning 12 in T-1 month (and counting. Daily. Minutely) she is now part of the youth group at our church, not the children’s group. On occasion she misses Corra and her friends, but adventures like a “Campout” go a long way in making it up. Speaking of…the annual winter campout that our church puts on for the girls in our area just happened and it was Layna’s first year. Naomi and I went last year, and once again it was a huge success. This year Naomi was off on her own and we connected a few times for pictures and hugs. Layna and I, on the other hand were buddies. She was ok with my tagging along with her and helping when needed. We had a great time.
We arrived late in the evening on Friday night and started off with s’mores. Then once everyone had arrived, we went on a late night hike that ended in hot chocolate. Off to bed, where I’m happy to report my girls did not freeze. I slept more than I expected to and we will leave it at that. The next morning we got up, had breakfast and then headed to the obstacle course. Naomi guided a blind-folded Layna and they both had fabulous time. Then lunch, free time, crafts, dinner, and home. By the time we started the long drive home, we were all ready. But it was wonderful.
Just this past Thursday we had another adventure but this time our whole family got to go, well, minus Corra who went to play with cousins. We got to go to the temple to do baptisms. It was Layna’s first time, and she was beaming the whole trip. Long story short, it was a beautiful experience and she can’t wait to go back.
Naomi learned that 3 inch heeled combat boots are questionable camping foot wear. Layna discovered the joys of hand-warmers. I was reminded how many more steps I take when I’m in the great outdoors than when I’m at home.
Mostly though, I sighed again at how much I love the phase of being a mom of older kids. They are growing and I don’t have any sadness. Since they were each born I’ve been immersed in every stage and when we leave it behind it’s with a loving goodbye. Every goodbye just clears the space for what’s happening now and it’s all my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still hard. I’m constantly swapping out one area I feel I’m inadequate for another. At the end of the day, I remind myself that happy kids sing…and my kids are always singing (and throwing spontaneous dance parties) so we are doing enough right.