Our last day together, we again spent time in places we'd traveled to years before when Clark was three and Sophie a seed. We listened to stories about male mammoths falling into a sink hole, flat faced bears, box work (a rare cave formation), earned a third young ranger badge, stood in true darkness, cave darkness.
These pictures, our trips, how I spend my days, have got me thinking about the things I do with the kids that I might have never done or enjoyed nearly as much if they weren't around. These places, many, if not all the ones we went to on our vacation, I loved because they were interested and I was excited to be interested with them.
In 5th grade, I lost my curiosity. Lost my love of playing. The hang out years started- in malls, bedrooms, on bike paths, behind the Giant, in school bathrooms, Arby's. Later it would be to coffee shops and bars; anywhere we could smoke, drink, escape. So many of these moments were spent mainly in conversation, about what I can't remember, but I know we were trying to figure ourselves and others out, find a place in the world, ironically by doing very little. They were rough years. Curiosity wasn't the only thing lost. Self-esteem, a sense of belonging, strength, courage. While all were eventually found again, very little lived in those hang out years.
I started to return to myself in college, but it wasn't until the kids came along that I found play and curiosity again. For the first time in too long, I wanted to know things, know how to do things.
Still, because of how deeply I can live in old patterns, even today I wouldn't have enjoyed the places we went half as much had they not been there. I wouldn't have seen with the same eyes. I wouldn't have had their awe. Found my own.
Their interest in things builds my interest, and my renewed (sometimes needing to be nudged) want to find curiosity, builds theirs.
The world spins differently since they were born.
I spin differently.
The last two weeks have been different too. No longer connected to much at all online, I realize how much social media mirrored those hangout years for me. Being "connected" can feel quite the opposite.
Disconnecting has felt like a birth- rebirth.
Except here. Here, I've realized, is about sharing the adventures, curiosity, and play my children and I offer each other.
And much like the places we go together, the time we spend- my sharing here helps me continue to grow, say yes to play, learning, seeking, all the things I once left behind.