As we age we have fewer and fewer ‘firsts’.
In fact, it’s a rare occasion when we divert ourselves from the day-to-day monotony of adulthood to explore new areas, try new foods, or take part in new activities.
As adults, we’re just too busy going to work, picking little ones up from daycare, getting supper on the table, and finding time to play with the kids before jettisoning them off to bed, before crashing on the couch for an hour or two.
When you have kids, it’s a Monday to Sunday routine, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, just being in the same house as The Hurricane on a daily basis is all I need to keep me going.
But there are times where I long for an adventure, something completely new and exhilarating, something I can look back on in a few years and say, ‘Wow, that was really awesome’.
I guess the last time I had that feeling was in 2004/05, as The Boss and I backpacked across New Zealand and Australia, after quitting our jobs and selling our house in Alberta and moving back to Ontario with no plans except a whirlwind trip around parts of the world The Boss had always wanted to see. Luckily, she convinced me over a year or so that I wanted to quit my job, leave the security of a company I had a good future in, and become a backpacker too.
Since we were the most senior of rookies on the backpacking tour — I turned 25 early into our journey, while The Boss turned 24 a day or two before we left — and we were the only married backpackers we met (tourists aren’t the same), we soaked in as much of the experience as we could, knowing full well it would be our one and only chance for such a carefree life, unlike the 18- to 21-year-olds, who said they’d see the Great Barrier Reef “next time”. Sha. Right.
But the experience that still sticks out in my mind the most, even after all this time, is skydiving in Taupo, New Zealand, with the mountain used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as a backdrop. I’d love to say I was first in line, ready to be strapped to my dive partner, and eager to feel the wind on my face. Instead, I was the pussy who hoped he was too far over the 190 lb. weight limit (they made an exception for my 10 or 12 extra pounds), then paced the building like a man in a maternity ward in the 1950’s (I don’t know what that means), and finally only signed with shaky hand after an ecstatic 70-something woman came running in off the tarmac after her successful jump and The Boss looked at me with those “What, are you gonna let some Grandma outdo you?” eyes.
The flight up was nice — great scenery that Taupo — although the benches that slanted towards the open door were a bit unnerving. Then people started to disappear. They were actually jumping out of the goddamned plane! As people in front of me dropped to what I assumed was their sure death, my partner began pushing me towards that gaping door. Although I dug my heels in like a cowboy dragging behind a roped steer, I was no match for this experienced skydiver. We got to the door, he sat me down on the edge and my feet dangled into oblivion. I looked down at Lake Taupo below and, in hindsight, it was beautiful, but at the time, I think I pooped a little.
Then he forced my head back onto his shoulder (to avoid my head snapping back and knocking him out) and we fell into nothing.
You lose your breath, y’know, those first five or 10 seconds. But when it comes back, and you are weightless and screaming towards the earth at 1,000 miles an hour, and your mind is racing but not with fear but pure glee — giddiness even — it is an unexplainable feeling.
Then the parachute gets pulled, your nuts get ripped up into your throat, and you begin your slow descent towards the earth, whooping and screaming and telling your partner he has the greatest fuckin’ job on earth about 200 times, and taking in the breathtaking scenery, and realizing that you have just experienced the most amazing minute of your entire life.
After landing, and being freed from my abductor, I ran towards The Boss, who was the last to land. We hugged and jumped and screamed and talked over each other, because neither of us could form a complete thought, but we had so much to say.
The reason I’m reflecting on this today is because The Hurricane has discovered the 18-month-old’s version of free falling — the two-footed jump. Last night, instead of skipping around in a circle, she was getting full air. Bending both her knees and jumping.
Now, she’s not ready for the NBA just yet, but there was definitely daylight underneath those feet, and, judging by the smiles and screams of delight coming from her, my best guess is she was sharing the experience I had in 2004.
It may seem like the two are unrelated — one a 9,000 foot drop from a plane, the other an inch high ‘leap’ into the air — but can you imagine the feeling of freedom a child must have the first time they are airborne?
The first time they experience gravity (at least intentionally, butter fingers). The first time they reach for the sky, lift their feet from the ground, with no net below them and nobody catching them and then stick the landing.
Know what pisses me off?
People who come to a blog, read it, and never leave a comment.
Now I don’t mean to brag, but since I’ve started to actually post to this site on a regular basis, I have been getting a decent amount of hits. By decent, I mean more than me, The Boss, The Parents, The Sister, and The In-Laws.
Like, five more people than that – each day – at least.
It’s certainly nothing spectacular, and definitely nothing to quit my day job over, in an attempt to become a full-time stay-at-home blogger Daddy.
Nope, nothing even close to that.
But still, there’s a bunch of people who drop by daily to see what I’m rambling on and on and on and on and on and on about, but either don’t give a shit about what I’m saying, have no thoughts on the subject, or spend most of their time trying to figure out how they landed on this page and how they can break free.
And that makes me sad.
Like, snot-dripping-down-my-face and having-to-wipe-it-off-with my-sleeve sad.
Not because I’m vain and have to know who everybody that lands on this space is, or that I’m making a difference in soooooooooo many lives (ha ha, I know) by blathering on about the most tedious aspects of my daughter’s existence, but just because it’s good to get feedback from people.
It’s nice to pick people’s brains for their life experiences, which might help me as I work to give The Hurricane a solid head-start in life.
Plus, in a selfish way, it’s nice to know if the blog is actually being enjoyed by people, or if I’m stirring up any emotions, or making people think outside the box, because I’m having a blast writing this thing, since I no longer get to write at work anymore.
So don’t be scared to leave a comment. It’s the whole point of the blogosphere – to force your opinions on complete and not-so-complete strangers.
(And no, I’m not really pissed off at you, but I have to stick with the theme, right)
There are times when The Hurricane does something that just stops me in my tracks.
One day it will be a word she picked up from seemingly out of nowhere, the next as she attempts to move her hand in a circular motion to indicate how windmills rotate.
Or it can be like yesterday norning, when her Grandma Giggles (my Mom) took her upstairs to get her baby, just before I left for work. The Hurricane came down the stairs with one of her many dolls, found a toy bottle, and headed for her Dora chair in the middle of the living room.
Sometimes she sits on the doll. Other times she’d have it upside down, or swinging it at the dog by its leg, but not yesterday.
Yesterday, she cradled the baby gently in her arms, careful not to disturb the swaddle Nana had put it in. She put the bottle in its mouth, and looked her in squarely in the eyes as she ‘fed’ her.
How can an 18-month-old look so old, so natural?
She has fed her babies before, but I’ve never seen her do it with such care, such precision, such instinct. She looked like a little Mommy.
Of course, instinct is not anything new to the human race. The Hurricane herself came out of the womb and was feeding from her mother’s breast mere minutes later, without hesitation.
It’s difficult to recognize the things hard-wired into our brains that we adults do on a daily basis, until you see someone so young, with no life experience, hold and rock a ‘baby’ gently with all the love and affection of a real Mom.
Then you realize there are some things even the best parent can’t teach.
In case this is the first time you’ve ventured to this blog (if so, I say 1) Why? and 2) Welcome!) I must tell you that I swear.
OK, a fair bit.
But now that I know Great-Grandma-In-Law found the url, I promise I will try to cut down on the swears, especially the big one that rhymes with puck, and truck, and muck, and duck, and stuck, and … ah you get the point.
But I can’t make any promises for The Hurricane, who, by all accounts, used her first swear – in proper context, that is – in the bathtub Sunday night.
Now, I did not witness the heinous act, as I was diligently working on yesterday’s post, but I ran to the bathroom when The Boss called out to me through fits of laughter.
So this is how the story went.
The Hurricane was having a bath, surrounded by bubbles and toys. She reached for a toy just out of her grasp and began to fall.
As she put her hands down to block her descent, she said “Oh shit”.
That’s right, my 18-month-old daughter said “Oh shit” in context, in the exact scenario as her father would.
Especially since she only first heard the word at Christmas, when her Auntie Janine dropped something in the kitchen and bellowed the expletive in front of The Hurricane’s virgin ears. Now, she’s maybe heard it a time or two since when The Boss or I let it slip, which is rare, because we try to be careful because the kid is like a giant freakin’ sponge.
So, yeah, I get that she might have picked the word up on the rare occasions she hears it, but to actually use it properly in a sentence, when faced with a definite “Oh shit” moment … well, that’s some messed up shit.
Swearing can sometimes be nasty, or funny, or necessary, and sometimes it’s just cute as all hell.
Until she says it in public … then we’ll be up shit creek.
The Hurricane had the perfect weekened – four grandparents and lots of spoiling.
The In-Laws made the four-hour trek to our place this weekend for a visit, which is always fun for all, because they get caught up on all the new things The Hurricane has learned since they last saw her – in this case, at Christmas.
I’m sure they noticed she was talking a lot more, and saying a whole bunch of new words that, once we translated, they would laugh and pick up on it the next 1,000 times she asked to give The Mutt a bone, or told her toys to “Hang on” as she pushed them around in her mini-stroller.
My parents, who live only a half-hour away, also dropped in for visit, so it was The Hurricane show, with the star of the show milking the attention for all it was worth.
So, even though it’s not Saturday, here’s a couple photos from the weekend that just scream to be posted.
A trip down memory lane with some old photos of The Hurricane (I know, I know, I’m supposed to shut up).