Ties that Bind

There’s a family myth that my Grandfather skied down a Swiss mountain with my Mom, who was a toddler, strapped to his back.
That was back in the ’50’s – experts nowadays would NOT recommend skiing down a Swiss mountain with a baby on your back. But as with all good myths, there is a layer of truth hidden in the story.  My Grandfather, an avid and gifted skier, did not stop skiing because he had a baby.  He took his daughter along with him on his adventures.  He let her see the world from his back atop a mountain; he let her experience skiing with him.
One of my earliest memories is sitting in the saddle in front of my Grandma on her horse, Sugar.  What a view of the world – what an experience!  She included me in her love of horses – she let me experience it with her.
When my babies were little, they went with me everywhere – in my arms, in a sling, on my shoulders. If I went on a hike, I put them in the pack and carried them with me.  When they were old enough, they went with me in the jogger for my long runs and bike rides.  If needed, I stopped to nurse, change a diaper, or settle them down – and then back to the run or bike ride. Sometimes these adventures were blissfully ideal, sometimes we had to quit early; a few times, we tried but just couldn’t get out the door.  But the point is that I did the things I loved, and I included my children in those experiences with me.
My 17 year old son will be running his second half marathon next month.  He
went from experiencing long runs in the jogger, to a love for running that is all his own.  I can’t keep pace with him anymore, but I coach him, share favorite long run spots, and bike along side him.  The adventures we shared when he was little are ties that still bind us together.
With a baby carrier, a backpack, a jogger, or just two strong arms, there are many ways to do things you love *with* your little one. These shared experiences will shape both of you.  They will be ties that bind your hearts together, even when your little one becomes an adult.

Molly Hankins




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