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.
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.
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.
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!