“Mom, I think I’m going to throw up.”
My formative years, the early ones and those at the close of my adolescence, are sprinkled with adventure and oddity. I cannot swim, but I know which sinewy string to pull to make a detached seal flipper … um … flap.
I have listened to my voice echo in melancholy solo through Italian monasteries and Westminster Abbey. I’ve stood underneath roadside “Welcome to Insert State Name Here” signs in pajamas beside my brother long before the rooster crowed, our eyes open just long enough to hear the camera click to capture a bleary moment in posterity. I’ve stood at my father’s knee as he taught me the beauty of animals, Great Horned Owls and skunks and lizards and dogs and deer and groundhogs the cast of my childhood menagerie.
I’ve eaten whale blubber.
I’ve explored monuments and natural wonders. I dove into Tolkein’s written worlds and I’ve floated schools of dazzling fish. I’ve watched the bluffs turn ripe with berries under the midnight sun and I’ve run wild in the sub-zero eternal night.
I have a picture of my brother and I standing beside two dead caribou. Two dead caribou that are frozen together standing up.
I wore a black watch kilt to school for five years, my navy knee high socks offsetting the non-conforming abbreviated tartan. I’ve played field hockey and sis-boom-bahed. I learned different languages and wandered through foreign countries. I went to Knotts Berry Farm. Universal Studios. Disneyland. Alcatraz.
And then I married a man who had never been anywhere.And hadn't eaten blubber.
I had an idyllic marriage, in the general sense. But whether its first love or true love, and no matter how synchronized your dreams and plans may be, there are bound to be differences. And for us, it boiled down to adventure. His view of adventure involved him, his friends and two bicycle wheels. And it did not involve spending money. Or leaving town. In nine years of marriage, there were five vacations. In the three years after our children were born and before his exit, there were more than five but less than 15 date nights.
For months I have heard – EVERY DAY – that it has been two years since I took my children on an adventure.
In my defense, we haven’t exactly stayed indoors. But we are at the “Disneyland” age and the last time we went to the happiest place on earth we had the unhappiest of times. So I drew a line in the sand and said we wouldn’t cross over it until my daughter turned 7, which is apparently the magical age in the Magic Kingdom.
My children will know their father. They will hear the stories and see the pictures and they will find joy in life as he did. But they will have my definition of adventure. And, let’s be frank, there’s not much he can do to argue the point.
“Would it make you feel better if I told you we are going to Disneyland?”
“You are the best mom EVER! But I still need to throw up.”