As a mother I know I’m supposed to kiss the owies, put the four hundredth bandaid of the day on dirty, sticky fingers and serve the oatmeal with strawberries in the purple bowl along with the Elmo fork. I know I’m supposed to read the cat book at least three times before bed, help Eliza write her name, Lucille’s name, our dog Imogene’s name and not protest when bath time turns into a bathroom soaking, all out water fight. These are things every mother does: the ass kicking, the kung fu, the back flips. But in summer in Montana we mamas do all this while hiking mountain trails, swimming in creeks and sleeping outside.
It’s a part of the negotiation, I’m finding, to raise children here. Even those of us who come from somewhere else spend our summers gently removing hooks from the mouths of rainbow trout, floating rivers, starting fires and reading our children to sleep by the light of head lamp looking at the stars through the roof of our tent.
It’s one thing to live in Montana it’s another wholly to be raising little Montanans.
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