This Grand Adventure

When I became pregnant with my first child, my husband and I fully intended to submerse our children into our world and our lifestyle. Before I had children I loved to travel, hike, go to concerts, attend estate sales and create art.

I imagined a life of going to a Jack Johnson concert with a baby strapped to my chest as my husband and I sang along to Bubble Toes. I pictured us traveling around the world stopping in at cafes to give the babies biscuits and croissants. I knew there would be long hikes with a kid strapped to my husband’s back as we crossed streams and climbed over rocks. And there was no doubt in my mind that the kids and I would spend long Saturdays going from estate sale to estate sale buying used furniture that we could go home and sit together and refurbish.

Me hiking through the mesa in Albuquerque, NM

Me hiking through the mesa in Albuquerque, NM

Me hiking the Jemez Mountain...notice my shirt is wet in really great places...I had just got done swimming in hot springs

Me hiking the Jemez Mountains…notice my shirt is wet in really great places…I had just got done swimming in hot springs

Our dreams were quickly dashed when our new darling arrived and immediately hated car rides. Instead of being a soothing experience that put her into a calm trance she screamed like a banshee. As soon as you strapped her into that car seat she acted like a holy terror and there was nothing you could do to get her to stop. A drive across town with her felt like an eternity so our plans of going to a music festival 3 hours away were certainly not in the cards.

An Eric Clapton concert my husband and I went to before kids

An Eric Clapton concert my husband and I went to before kids

We had front row seats at a Keb' Mo concert

We had front row seats at a Keb’ Mo concert

My husband and I at a Dave Matthews concert

My husband and I at a Dave Matthews concert

I however did tote my new baby along to estate sales. She rested comfortably strapped to the front of my chest. In recent years she has become somewhat of a minor celebrity at these gigs because she has been coming with me for so long. However, these were never all day endeavors. We could only go to one and then be home for nap time. The people at these things don’t even know I have three kids because there is no way I would bring 2 rambunctious boys to a house filled with expensive breakables. They are too much of a liability.

I did take my kids hiking once by myself. My daughter was 4 years old and my middle son was 2 years old. There is a great wooded area with paths not too far from our house. I loaded them up and gave them each a plastic bag to collect treasures and told them we were going on a grand adventure. It seemed to be going very well and then about an hour into our hike with no other people in sight my son fell. No, he didn’t trip and skin his knee. He fell down an embankment. A four and a half foot drop covered by plant growth. My daughter and I couldn’t even see him but we sure could hear his screams. My daughter immediately began screaming at the top of her lungs, “My brother’s dead! My brother’s dead!” I jumped down to save my son and got him hoisted back up to safety. He was fine besides a few scratches. The true problem came in when I needed to get out. Since I am only 5 feet tall I couldn’t just lift myself out of this ditch. It was a straight shot down and there was nothing to hold onto or dig my feet into. I struggled and struggled to get out. Both kids were trying to pull me by my hands which of course were no help. I’m still not quite sure how I got out of there but somehow I manage to get my leg swung over and kind of launched myself out. Needless to say we immediately headed back to the car and have not been back there since.

The kids all ready to start their grand hiking adventure

The kids all ready to start their grand hiking adventure

The embankment my son fell down

The embankment my son fell down

In the past 7 ½ years of being a parent we have not traveled internationally, we have hiked once, the only concerts we have been to are the ones my children perform in at school, we do not go to estate sales as a family and most of the art we create includes paper and glitter.

I have been submersed into the life of my children. The life of playgrounds, naps, goldfish crackers, play-doh and crayons is really not that bad and it is incredibly safer.  The only embankments I have had to try to climb out of are the stacks of dirty laundry and dishes and clearly that that is just a metaphor. A metaphor never hurt anybody.  Plus this life with kids is a grand adventure!

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52 responses

  1. It is a big change!! It’s fun to see as they grow which things they actually like from my and my husband’s lives before becoming parents: though very short, little A likes to go on runs. L is getting good at basketball and soccer, and he can get lost in a book just like me.

    It’s refreshing to hear that you are happily immersed in your kids’ world for now, for soon they’ll grow and we will start having chances here and there for things like concerts and hikes and trips. I see too many around me trying so hard to cling to their life-before-kids, and meanwhile they’re missing out on an incredible stage of life!

    • Hi Alison! Yes, it is nice to see the things that the kids like from our life. Even though we can’t go to concerts, they share our love of music and even though we aren’t doing big art projects they definitely like to create. I’m sure somewhere in the future we will be venturing out into this world and going on grand adventures!

  2. Great pictures from your hikes – and what a scary story about Bency falling down an embankment! We’ve done some hiking on flat, level trails, lasting for no more than an hour, and it’s worked pretty well. It is pretty amazing seeing the world through your children’s eyes on new and different adventures WITH them.

    • Thank you! The funny thing about that hike was that it was all flat, level trails and on one short strip of trail it was next to that embankment. Of course Bency had to discover it before I even noticed it was there because it was so well camouflaged! Boys definitely see the world in a whole different light!

  3. I like the pic of the children’s grand hiking adventure. At times it is hard deciding what’s right, and what not right to do once you’re aware of expecting a child. The same thing for when you become a parent. The decisions are yours even though you get suggestions from families, and others. Prayers are important with everything.Nice post, and thanks for sharing. Mtetar

  4. I am also immersed in my children’s world. I pretty much expected it, having been a caretaker & nurturer my entire life, so it hasn’t been much of a shock. At times I do miss the freedom to do what I want to when I want to, but being their mommy is a dream come true, regardless of the sleepless nights that turn Mommy into a walking zombie and the little fingers which make sure my hair rarely stays combed for long. 🙂

  5. Melissa, what a scare you had when Bency fell down the embankment! I’m glad you pulled out of the situation okay. After that incident, I would take getting stuck in piles of laundry any time!

    Also, I LOVE the photo of you and your hubby at the Dave Matthews concert. Those were the days, huh? Days you could come and go as you please, sleep in past noon … But, I know none of those liberties compare to hearing little feet go pitter patter in the hallway! 🙂

    • It’s funny because when my washing machine broke a few weeks ago and we were waiting for the part for 2 1/2 weeks the laundry was seriously piled up about as high as that embankment and I kept thinking about that time! It was a miracle I got out of that scrape with Bency and it was equally a miracle that I got our laundry caught up in 2 days after we got the washing machine fixed! I guess when you’re a mother you have a lot more strength and determination then you ever expected too!

  6. YIKES! That fall would have had me screaming right along with your daughter! Thankfully Bency was okay and your 5-foot self was able to climb back up 😉

    I think parenting is all about falling down and getting up. I know there are days where I feel like I’m teetering on an embankment of my own. We have to sacrifice so much (traveling, concerts, sanity) for the sake of these little people we claim as our own. Fortunately it’s worth it. Right?! 🙂

    • Absolutely worth it! Iris and I still talk about that hike and laugh! Bency doesn’t remember it at all! I’m just thankful that they stayed there and tried to help me and didn’t just walk off and leave me and see it as their chance for freedom! That’s true love!

  7. You need to reach that window between having young children and having teenagers and take full advantage of it. They’ll be able to sit still at an estate sale, but not whine and refuse to be seen with their mother. Lol.

  8. Yes, my husband and I were also going to be those type of parents who simply kept living and just brought our children along with us. We are still living although not in the way we were pre-kids nor will we ever get back to those days. And I am ok with that. 🙂

    What a grand hiking adventure you had! Holy moly,how scary.

  9. I love your grand adventure. You need to start adding to this story a little bit. Keep telling the kids how they saved your life that day Bency fell down the embankment and if they hadn’t of helped you out, after you saved Bency, you would have surely perished. Everyone was a hero that day! 🙂 I look forward to more of your grand adventures!!!

  10. Ah yes the grand adventures of life with young children which should not be confused with the adventures of life with older kids. I have to admit that I miss some of those “little kid” times but I do enjoy that my husband and I get to have a “life” some days now. 😉

    Great post!

  11. Glad to know my oldest isn’t the only baby who reacted to car rides that way! She’s 2.5 now and, instead of screaming, she throws up anytime we drive for more than 20 minutes. Awesome. Family life really is quite different than you ever imagine it to be.

  12. I love it when new parents think the baby will just adjust to their original life. We are all so naive in the beginning! haha! Now, I just sick back and watch for reality to hit like it always does. But that’s the best part about it because you never know what you are in for so life’s always a surprise! I still maintain that embankments of laundry can be quite dangerous, metaphorically or not! 🙂 Glad no one was hurt on your hike though! Scary!

  13. Ah yes life with children is greatly different than how we imagined it would be isn’t it 😦 then again you have submersed yourself as you say in their lives and being a mum, they will grateful for that, you will still share the pleasures …just not in the way you perhaps thought. Your an EXCELLENT Mum my lovely Mel xxx

  14. great point that the adventures are now at home! we too are completely homebound now except for our annual trip to Florida….but I woudln’t change it for anything 🙂

  15. This is one of my favorite blogs from you, Mother! Your hiking saga made me laugh. I’m glad you made it out!

    I think I had vague asperations similar to yours. It doesn’t really work out that way. Naptime also breaks the day up. I also used to be a big beach person until my oldest came along and then you spend those first few years hiding from the sun. Then we got in one good summer where we actually started to enjoy our beaches again, and then we went and had another baby!

    • Thank you so much Joyce! That hiking trip has Iris and I cracking up all the time! Plus even though she remembers it, she remembers it wrong and thinks Bency almost fell into a raging river (there was no water around)! And yes, just like you, every window of opportunity that we had was so tiny because either I was pregnant or had a newborn around shortly after!

  16. Life with kids is truly a grand adventure! Enjoy every minute and don’t forget to laugh even when you want to cry…or scream. Just think, in 20 years you can get back to being a grown up you….if modified a bit. 🙂

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