I used to travel the world, helped Indigenous Australians with economic development work, volunteered with the Red Cross in New York after 9-11… however, I have a 2-and-4-year-old now, and adventure has a new face. It looks like this:
Danny wasn’t too sure when Mike and I decided to take the boys on a hike a few weeks, and though we did go for a “hike,” it was not what I expected. We sauntered off from the parking lot with the boys and dog in tow. We looked at plants and bugs, felt the native grasses as we went by and picked out our favorite rocks. A short distance from the parking lot, the boys found a dry creek bed to climb down into. Tommy lay down in the dirt and proceeded to make “dirt angels”. (Anyone looking for a new band name?)
After 20 minutes or so, we shambled on down the path where child number two wet his pants. A few minutes later, child number two did a number two. Then the dog pooped. Then our other kiddo had a mishap while taking a wee and now I’m all out of extra clothes and plastic bags. As I’m squatting down, trying to figure out how to clean up my soiled, naked child, a woman came around the bend on her bike and saw the mayhem and said, “I’ve been there! It gets better, I promise!” After that, we decided to head back to the car.
Danny cried all the way because we had left his special rock back at the call-of-nature-scene-of-mayhem. No other rock would do. My enjoyment of the little things had waned as Tommy dragged his feet and kept saying, “This is sooooo faaaaarrrrr!!” I can’t wait to see what the teenage years have in store.
When we arrived back, we’d been gone for about one hour and walked a whole 100 yards from the parking lot. Perhaps that distance is being generous.
Adventure didn’t used to be like this. It used to be about seeing grand views, travel, and experiencing food and cultures I’d never heard of before. Now it is about patience, quality time, and grace towards whatever life brings. it is about finding a quiet space to enjoy the small things, seeing the world through the eyes of a child and finding the joy in a dirt angel. One thing is the same though:
I suppose I just used to choose when and how that happened, and now my little rascals make those decisions for me.