Not yet a fourteener

A fourteener is a mountain at least 14,000 feet in elevation. It's above the timber line and has only 60 percent of the oxygen as if you were at sea level. Hiking fourteeners is a popular challenge in Colorado, which has 53 mountains of such height. Utah has no mountains over 13,528 feet, and most of the mountains on the Wasatch Front don't go much higher than 11,000 feet.


Last summer for Father's Day, we hiked to Jack's Mountain Mailboxes in the foothills near our house. It's elevation is 6,475, and the 1,200-foot climb from the trailhead was challenging enough. At the top, I snapped this selfie of the boys and I.

Michael is 11 in this picture, and is now a 12-year-old sixth-grader. He looks like a 12-year-old, maybe even older some days. He's 5-foot-7, has braces, and bears not too much resemblance to the third-grader he was just three years ago. Somewhere at the end of that school year, he ceased to look like a little kid anymore. And not at 12, he is looking like a teenager. He acts like one sometimes, with the eye rolling, the crazy appetite, the desire to just listen to his iPod in the solitude in his room. And his appearance is coinciding.

But then there are pictures such as this one, one of my favorites and my Facebook profile picture, in which I can still see the little kid in him. His smile looks so young, his hand not big enough to palm a basketball like he can. And he still is only 12, and will forever be my 12-year-old. And my 9-year-old. And my 6-year-old kindergartner. And my 3-year-old preschooler. And my 1-year-old who I would take on long walks in the jogging stroller, when it was just him without a little brother. He will always be that kid.

The time is going so fast. But it's not over yet. There are more mountains to climb, maybe a fourteener someday.


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