I love adventure! I mean, have you ever heard anyone say they didn’t? It’s a pretty basic profile additive.
We love family, we love coffee, and we love adventure.
So how adventurous does your life feel right now? Well, during the past few weeks I have picked up a sick kid from school, meal planned, grocery shopped, sorted tantrums (my own and my kids’), found napkins for boogers, fought with my husband, worked through conflict resolution him, had to take time to sort my own emotions, watched my nieces and nephews and worked from home with kids running around me needing my attention.
And to be honest, this feels like a normal week.
My romantic notion of adventure is filled with skydiving trips, hiking through beautiful forests, dancing all night under the stars, life-changing conversations over dinner, picnic lunches and visiting cities and countries that don’t belong to me. Those romanticized adventures are also fueled by cheerful energy and grateful hearts. Constant smiles and laughter all around.
That isn’t my life. At least not right now.
Right now, with a seven year old and a four year old, I feel exhausted by the way they need me. So much so that it’s hard to even turn lunch into a picnic in our own backyard. But I also know if I shut down the adventurous, wild spirit in me that I begin to fade in a way that isn’t helpful for my family.
So how do we adventure as a family? I heard a quote by John Mark McMillan not too long ago that made me burst into tears when I read it. He says,
“The way I see it, you sacrifice your youth for children. You take your youth and you lay it down on the altar and give it up for children. Women especially do this but men do, too. We transfer our youth and any leftover childish dream and energy and we transfer it to them. We either choose to do this for our children or they take it from us. Things you didn’t realize you loved so much like sleep, a car that doesn’t reek, bathroom walls and floors that aren’t stained with pee, vacations that are actually relaxing, days off that aren’t more exhausting than work, going to the movies for less than $100 bucks. Over time so much of you that was young and vibrant and alive slowly fades and is laid upon the altar of t-ball practice, science projects, emergency visits, hurt feelings, parent teacher conferences, summer camps, tantrums, every sort of meltdown collapse in public display.
"Some days I can hear the screaming from the street when I get home from work and I die a little with every step that I take toward the bloodbath that awaits me. When you have kids, a thing in you dies. As you give all the youngness to them that you had left and in a way you die, too. But it’s this way with all good things.
"There’s a sacrifice that stands between you and everything good. See, children take your old used up faded glory and they kill it. But in return they give you something else. They take your dying youth and give you a chance to experience a new childhood. Not just your inflated memories of some forgotten glory days but a glorious new youth. They kill you, but they give you a new life. They give you the opportunity to enjoy all the things that you, in your smug sophistication, forgot that you loved. They give you snakes, and horses, and trampolines...They give you dogs and bicycles and nature shows. They give you costumes, forts, trains, and airplanes...When everyone else passes a cow or a horse as though it was just a tree or a rock, you get to stop and glory again in their majesty. And then you get to glory in the rock and the tree too...In this way children literally see the world better and more accurately than we do. They teach us a new way to see the world, ourselves, and God.”
His quote broke me away from my “dream adventure” and helped lead me back to the adventure that is my current life. We will always live with an undercurrent of adventure in our family, because that is one thing I’ve brought with me. But the real family adventures happen when we get to experience each other.
Becky Rice is an Oklahoma based entrepreneur and professional wanderer. She aches for the uncommon and the exciting, she surrounds herself with people she loves, and she never hesitates to jump headlong into grand life experience. She is the founder and operator of KET, a photography and videography company, committed to empowering women toward honesty, beauty, and bravery. Whether at home, abroad, behind the camera, or over a cup of coffee, her joy is to draw people into deeper journey with self and with God.