Since the day I realized I was going to be a dad for the first time...even before that, I was formulating ideas in my brain about how I would raise my children. Not how we would right all of the injustices perpetrated upon us in our childhood. Not how we'd eat organic or dismiss the TV. Certainly not how, through hard work and discipline, my children would excel and succeed in a hyper competitive world. Mostly, I would imagine climbing mountains. Outfitting my kids tightly into kayaks for multi-day excursions into deep river canyons. Skiing. Before starting a family, these were my passions. My every day pursuits. I wanted them to feel the connection to the Earth that I had felt.
Then, as the children appeared...and multiplied, I realized getting out the door, into the car and headed toward the beach without forgetting lunch or swimsuits or diapers could be an expedition of which to be proud. And, while introducing my kids to the astonishing beauty and abundant challenges of the natural world is still at the top of my parenting list, engaging in a match of wits and wills with a three year old girl and her brothers remains my focus.
Watching them grow and experience life beyond the door has been different and perhaps more pleasurable than I'd imagined. I'd never been so aware of the energy that envelopes a child when they enter the water, until it was my child. The significance of planting and nurturing a seed. How that connection would be personal, entirely their own, and different from mine. Yet, sometimes, these paths of connectivity intersect and an experience is shared. These are the days for which I live.
Late last summer we were in the woods enjoying a rain storm from the shelter of our camp. Calvin turned to me and said, "I want to go for a paddle".
For a split second, I was thinking, "Oh, man. I do NOT want to go out in that rain". I managed to avoid my initial response and we pushed off. We paddled in unison, without saying a word, as the rain poured down on us. I watched my son sitting strong in the bow of that boat, with his head up, taking in the wonder of that moment. He turned around with the broadest of grins and just smiled at me.
"This was a good idea," I said.
This week, I road a chairlift and looked out over the western Maine mountains with Ezra as he skied down a slope for the first time.
Like the world around them, they continue to surprise.
They continue to inspire.
Yeah. A day and it's possibilities.