My biggest fear in my first pregnancy was that we would “have a dud kid”. Actually, that’s a lie, my biggest fear in my first pregnancy was that I would give birth to our child in our car on the side of the road in the middle of a snowstorm. However my second biggest fear was that we would “have a dud kid”. I was afraid we would have an indoor kid instead of an outdoor kid. My husband assured me that no matter what we would love our child even if they *gasp* preferred sitting inside to a 5 mile hike. While it is true, I would have loved my firstborn child no matter what, I am happy to say that what I got is a full on adventure buddy.
My ideal free day involves being out of the house from dawn till dusk, with a backpack full of snacks and water bottles, and the procurement of a rice crispy treat somewhere along the way. This does not sound appealing to everyone in my family, but when all else fails my firstborn child is ready to go outside with me.
I remember the days when I used to have to call people and make plans in order to have company on a hike. Trying to coordinate schedules and driving far out of my way to get some much-needed respite in nature. Nowadays, I just need a kid, some snacks, and to walk out the front door. I feel bad for you childless city dwellers because this my friends is a good life. Who needs sleep or personal space when you can traverse mountains at the drop of a hat?
I would also like to say that while my middle child does not love the outdoors as much as my firstborn, and by definition is the ”dud child” I feared so much in my first pregnancy, I deeply appreciate all the gifts she has offered me. I have to get really creative about how to incorporate her into my indoor life and let me tell you she has gotten damn good at dusting and setting the table for meals. Plus she is still good for a walk around the farm and chasing piglets.
This weekend on a whim after I took my son to his ballet practice we decided to go for a hike. We ventured up a frozen river to a waterfall that had started to thaw with the warmer spring weather. As we crossed natural formations of ice bridges and jumped from one frozen ledge to another over the flowing water, I was deeply grateful for this little dude who has the same adventurous spirit as my own. He is always ready to explore a waterfall, or check out a cave, or build a TP in the woods, or go hunting for salamanders etcetera, which all of these things tend to nurture my inner child as well. Having grown up a city kid these things were not readily available to me in my day-to-day life. I find that at its best parenthood can help to fill the deficit that we as parents experienced as children. I think there’s also a danger in this as deficits are often experienced as a negative and that we as parents can at times over correct and go to far in the opposite direction creating a polarity of the deficit. I think it takes intention in cultivation in these areas and when done correctly it is as much a gift to a parent as it is the child. So for each or you out their that has your own adventure buddy, or crafting buddy, or disc golf buddy, or whatever your thing is, way to go. You are meeting your kid’s needs, your own needs, and building a bond that will be the basis of your relationship when things get real effed up in the teenage years.