Adventures big and small


It is important to me to share adventures with Grace and Whit.  That’s among the things I want most for them.  I want them to have big adventures, and to see the world.  I also want them to have small adventures.  We did the trapeze a few years ago and learned to fly.  We have volunteered at soup kitchens, had picnics in local parks, and danced on a beach off-season.

This past weekend’s adventure was went rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville.  We tried top-roping, self-belaying, and bouldering.  I was struck by how fearless Grace and Whit were.  Whit struggled on one wall, and what impressed me most was his tenacity; he would not give up.  I kept yelling up that he could come down if he wanted and he finally hollered down that I should stop saying that because he wasn’t coming down until he made it to the top.


Grace was a natural.  She scaled the wall so quickly and with such ease that our (wonderful) instructor asked me if she’d climbed before.  Um, at a birthday party, maybe once?  She loved it and I could see that climbing took advantage of her natural balance, flexibility, and courage.  It was great to see.


The scariest experience of the day was coming down from the self-belay wall.  To do that, you had to lean back and trust that the belay rope would catch your weight.  Matt and Whit did that with little drama.  Grace and I hesitated longer.  When she finally made what is effectively a trust fall, she came down gracefully.  I bounced off the wall with significantly less elegance but made it down in one piece.

We had an absolutely marvelous morning.  I loved seeing Grace and Whit be brave, and push themselves, and, literally, climb to the sky.  It felt like exercise, and adventure, and a wonderfully non-competitive, collaborative family experience.


Brooklyn Boulders is an impressive facility.  There are 25,000 square feet of climbing wall, as well as workspaces, exercise rooms, and free wi-fi.  The spirit of camaraderie that defines the climbing community is tangible in the airy space with soaring ceilings.  I am often dismayed by how negatively competition in kids’ sports (and lives in general) can manifest, and climbing seems like a powerful antidote to that.

A day pass to Brooklyn Boulders includes access to several yoga classes, the weight rooms, and all the climbing walls.  You could sit in one of a few different work spaces, watching the climbing or working with access to wi-fi.  Every single person we met there was, without exception, friendly and warm and didn’t make us feel like the awkward middle-aged people who didn’t know how to put on their harnesses we are.

We’ll definitely be going back.  Whit wants to do his birthday party there, and Grace is considering climbing on a weekly basis.

For full disclosure, Brooklyn Boulders provided us with a family belay session free of charge.  All opinions here, however, are my own, and the extravagantly positive opinion I have of the facility and staff is completely genuine.

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  1. Sue
    Posted November 17, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I love rock climbing as a family bonding experience. My son & I were both afraid of heights so we faced our fears together. Now he and his sister climb regularly.

    admin Reply:

    That’s great that you did that, and that it obviously has remained an interest for him. I hope my kids continue to climb also.

  2. Posted November 17, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    What an awesome experience! I wish my family had participated in more active things together. I think it’s important for children to watch their parents try things just as much as it may feel important to you to try for yourself.

    admin Reply:

    That is such a good point! I hadn’t really consciously thought about that, but I so agree with you. I think it’s valuable to see us try things that are new, and observe both success and failure! xo