My definition of “adventure” is broadening.
As a young mom, and even still admittedly, I longed to give my children ADVENTURE. I wanted (er, still want) to show them ancient ruins and yummy foods and fine art. I envision a scrapbook full of ticket stubs and photographs that they can tote off to college and adulthood full of memories. I want their heads to be chocked-full of knowledge of a great big world and their hearts to be full of compassion for all of its inhabitants. But, alas, I also want to save for their college and pay for their braces and keep the darn lights on. So, adventure to faraway places is not as easy as Pinterest makes it appear.
Yet still, I am realizing, adventure is not so far away. Even in my own memories I had some of my greatest childhood adventures taking walks with best friends, swimming with cousins in imaginary underwater worlds, and eventually falling madly in love with my future husband. Certainly vacations, honeymoons and epic road trips have made their marks, but I don’t want to short-change the everyday adventures that happen while we are longing for the next big thing.
This broadened idea of adventure is indeed how I have viewed the decision to have another baby, and another. Where my first two babies were tasks to accomplish and life-altering daily challenges (I’m being brutally honest here), I have embraced Gwyneth differently. With the benefit of experience and invaluable therapy (more honesty) I welcome the daily needs of my baby girl as a delight, mini-adventures in wonder at her growth, curiosity at her crying, joy that she even IS; and to get to do it all again with a baby boy this December, what an amazing ADVENTURE.
So too, I am convincing myself, must be my view of the adventure that starts tomorrow as the girls attend their first ever day of public school. Our journey with homeschooling has been rich and rewarding, affording the girls the opportunity to travel on work trips to Baltimore and New Orleans and Augusta. They will always treasure the fact that their dad taught them to read, to multiply and divide, to make a hypothesis. They discussed Marie Antoinette and Martin Luther King Jr., geography and geology, and countless other important facts that have made them strong learners. But now they embark on a new adventure as they take their seats in third and fifth grade to encounter more of the world, new viewpoints from classmates and teachers, new facts, new experiences. Their bags are packed and they are very excited to embark first thing tomorrow morning.
For a whole slew of reasons, some rational and some not, I am more nervous about this than most anything they have done so far. “They will be fine” echoes off of every kind-hearted, knowledgeable friend. I am sure they will be, but I hope for more than “fine” in this next big adventure in their education. Just as with any great place they may go - I want their heads to be chocked-full of knowledge of a great big world and their hearts to be full of compassion for all of its inhabitants. I hope and pray that tomorrow begins just such a journey for them, I trust it will.