Last night I went to a meeting for my kiddo's co-op preschool. It was only the fourth time I had been out of the house since Hell Cold descended upon our house, weeks ago so it was a pretty big deal. That would make a great movie wouldn't it? Hell Cold! Gobs of snot that will eat you alive! Larger than life Kleenex sheets that would swoop down to the rescue? Honestly! I think I have missed my calling.
Anyhow - at the meeting we did an exercise where we were asked to answer a question based on a colored M&M we drew out of a bag. Kind of a getting to know each other game, I guess. One of the questions asked us to tell about an adventure from your past. As we went around the circle, I was utterly impressed by the crazy adventures the other moms shared. The places they have seen, the people they have met, risks they have taken. If you could make a list of all the stories we shared and somehow link them together? Now that would make a blockbuster movie. For real.
As we shared, I sensed a collective, distant longing to get some part of that back. Don't get me wrong - becoming a parent is a wonderful adventure full of surprises. And perhaps our old adventures prepared us for this job as parents. Being pushed out of your comfort zone really does help you develop compassion for others, extreme patience, the ability to think on your feet, and to adapt to new situations. These are all skills that will be called upon again, and again, and again in our lives - and especially in the parenting of little ones.
Becoming a parent has really challenged my inner Adventure Girl (pictured above). Responding to the needs of my kiddo, trying to make her life as enriching and healthy as I can; at times takes everything that I've got and then some. At the risk of sounding too woo-woo, I really believe that our kids choose us and need us to be our real selves. That girl that once fearlessly roamed the streets of distant cities alone, said 'why not?' more often than 'what if?', and generally liked living way outside the box is still very much in me and I've been ignoring her.And seriously? A little more of her might do my parenting style a whole lot of good.
I'm not really sure how to bring her back, or even incorporate her into this more complicated, busy life - the one where I'm partly responsible for the upbringing of another human, helping to pay a mortgage, and try to run a small business. Or, maybe I do know how, but I am just too scared; because when I really listen, some of the big ideas she has are very out there. Then again, some of the smaller ideas seem very do-able. Maybe I just need to start somewhere, and as I listened to the moms last night I realized I might just have some new partners in this quest.
We'll see how Adventure Girl can re-enter my life. At this point I have no real concrete answers, but I hear her calling me from underneath those heaps of dirty laundry. Stay tuned…