Monkey Mama Report 2
By – Gosia Lipinska
It’s 7am and I’m rocking a restless, feverish and crying 1-year old. It’s been a long night in our cabin at Kromrivier in the Cederberg and we’ve made it to morning. It’s storming outside – cold and windy and it’s time to leave. To wind back a few days, our awesome family camping and climbing trip changed tone quite suddenly when our son Benjamin unexpectedly and badly burnt his hand on a cadac stove. The next day he developed a high fever and big storm pulled in, chasing us out of the campsite and into a chalet. It had all gone very wrong, the kind of wrong that will leave other parents sympathetic or relieved that it’s not them and your friends without children screaming for the hills.
These things happen, but so do crazy mountain epics, where you lose your way, go off-route, the weather pulls in, it gets dark. Life is full of twists and turns and it’s not all plain-sailing. But where there are trips leaving you with your tail between your legs (cursing that you’ll never go camping again), there are trips made of pure gold, where the stars align, and the gods smile. Where each pitch rolls into the next as you glide over the rock, swapping leads and flowing with the challenges that come your way.
And family holidays with small people are just the same, made richer by their unique and often hilarious contributions to the social fabric. Like the time when Benji, watching the 6-year olds jump from a rock into a pool, decided to try it himself by bum sliding down the rock with squeals of absolute delight. When he ran around shouting Mama and Dada at the top of his voice and then gave you the biggest hug as you came down from a route. When he pointed out parts of the natural world that you had never noticed or never had time/interest to.
Both difficult and magical experiences knit together to form the tapestry of our memories. We shouldn’t shy away from either, because they are our greatest teachers. The difficult times mould and shape our characters, while the good times remind us that life can be light and creative. And a climbing life with the smalls is just another beautiful variation to the way we can be in the world – not better nor worse than pursuing a pure climbing dream, but a different shade of colour.