It has been almost a year since we drove into Ketchum on the Fourth of July. Living in the small town with big culture called Sun Valley has been an opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity to experience community, nature and family like I haven’t before. I could not be more thankful to my husband, Bob, for making this possible by spending many nights trying to get home from obscure airports, by supporting me in all my endeavors from skiing to volunteering with a wild idea thrown in to keep things interesting, but most of all for his adventurous spirit to try out the unknown. This has been adventure number two for us. The first, moving to New Jersey arguably another country from Port Angeles, WA. The year has been an experience that all five of us will never forget – the highs and the lows. I love you to the moon and back…
We have been in Ketchum for 3 months – a quarter year. The summer was amazing. The girls are off to a great start at their new school and everyone has a healthy glow. Things have been miraculously easy for uprooting our family to live in a ski town for the year. I am sure you can guess where this is headed especially if you have read my other Blog post in which I talk about how I usually reside on either end of the curve — never in the middle where the “balance” exists.
I thought we were doing pretty well until my 8 year old has become distraught about going back home. She had a bad couple days. She is the new kid. There are too many kids in the class. There was something about the teeter-totter and a girl was mean when she asked for a turn… She likes her old school way better. That said school has BIG field trips as opposed to the “walking field trip to the museum with a bunch of square houses that look like boxes.” She misses her friends who knew her. She misses our house. She misses her stuffed animals that didn’t come along. She misses her soccer team. The list is long. “Everything was better and we need to go back!” Dad has been gone for a week so I have no back up. “It was DADDY’s idea to come here!” she says.
I listened. I hugged. I talked. She cried. My sweet Daughter #2 has hearing loss in one ear which you would never know but it can cause issues especially in big, noisy classrooms, and in some social situations like the cafeteria and recess. UGH! Earlier in the day I was hiking in the these beautiful mountains and thinking about how hard it would be to return next summer. Suddenly I am ready to pack my bags and head out. I find myself telling her that she can come home with me before Thanksgiving and if the classroom is too big and if it doesn’t work then she can go to the private school (that costs way too much money). Afterwards I am thinking that she can go to the Montessori School here. Maybe we will have to go back to her private school in Tacoma. Oh my goodness. I have lost my mind!
Every organized, well thought out plan that has been seamlessly implemented has been thrown out the window because my 8 year old had a bad day! This is the tough stuff of parenting and I can’t imagine how it gets tougher. I can deal with saying no to the latest electronics even though EVERYONE else has one. I can deal with breaking up fights, even teaching them those hard valuable lessons but this one was a tough one. We implemented this plan and I don’t have my husband to remind me of all the reasons why it really is good for them. By the end of dinner two out of three were in tears and telling me they desperately want to go back.
Then they went outside. They had a raspberry biscuit. They started playing a game. All I hear is laughter from my three little people that I love with all my heart. I am on a roller coaster and nowhere close to the Puyallup Fair!
The picture is of our family on one of the many hikes close by. This is the reason we moved to the mountains. To be together. To be outside. To experience life together.
Our year in the town of Ketchum, ID has begun. We survived the drive, unpacked and found places for just about everything. It really is amazing to me how little we really need for a year of living. So many things are collected and so little is useful on a daily basis. Our clothes, computers, bikes, the Wii, lots of books for me and the girls, American Girl dolls, yoga mats, Bob’s fly fishing and hunting stuff, camera equipment, camping equipment and about a dozen stuffies. That is what we have deemed important for the year although most would not be called ‘essential’. How is that we still have full cupboards at home? So far I can’t think of one thing that we forgot and cannot do without. Starting the year off a little lighter feels really great.
This will be our 8th year coming to Sun Valley so we have bypassed the idea of being completely new to the area. When trail running the other day, I was asked by two different groups how to get somewhere and I actually knew what I was talking about. Feeling like a local already. The girls have jumped right in with a marathon play date with the girl next door — 9:30 am to 7:30 pm. We have been to Warm Springs Creek, The Big Wood River and Trail Creek in the three days we have been here. “It isn’t summer until we are in Sun Valley,” says my oldest daughter. I think that is true.
Let’s see, what shall we do today?
Today my family is driving to Ketchum, ID for a ONE YEAR adventure in small town living. We are pushing ‘pause’ on the suburban treadmill that we have found ourselves on to live in a place where the mountains are big, the rivers fast and the sun shines all year long.