In search of the silver lining....03/02
It wasn't that long ago when I was thinking long and hard about whether kids is what I wanted in life. I had a lot of selfish pursuits and hobbies that I feared I'd lose if I had kids. In the end though, I came to the conclusion that if I didn't experience one of life's great miracles, I'd probably always wonder....
Having one kid is tough. Have two kids is a game changer or at least that's what several people told me before I had number 2. 6 months ago August (that's the name, not the month) was born and things went from busy to crazy busy.
My kids are comprised of two happy, healthy, strapping young lads which gives me absolutely no right to complain whatsoever. So as I strive to walk the line between boredom and joy please keep in mind that there are probably an equal number of far less and far more fortunate parents out there. Based on family help, wealth, what kind of kids you have, you could easily fall into either category.
The tough part is finding the right blend of selfish time - me going on a hike for example - and selfless time - me taking the boys to the pool, which I hate and they love. I'm often envious of friends or random people on this site for the ability to get out almost every week, for if I could I would but I have to simply bide my time until that next free day comes along.
So when you suddenly have a free Saturday thrust on you with high avy hazard, and a forecast that throws a rainfall warning at you, what do you do?
You get wet......really sopping wet!
The initial plan: Diez Vistas. Changed to Lindsay Lake or somewhere up on the ridge if I got that far.
Sitting in the car in the lot trying to convince myself that I'd regret not going outside on one of my days off from familial duties.
The rain came in droves as I wondered upwards through the treed groves.
It didn't take long before my goretex became useless. An umbrella probably would have been a good idea.
The view from Polytrichum lookout was somewhat murky. Snow began at this point and the rain hadn't dampened my spirits quite yet.
Met one other soaked soul out there. He'd turned around about 100 m higher before a slope he was concerned about. The snow was really sopping wet but at this elevation there was only a couple feet.
After crossing a creek near some falls, the rain really started to fall. I plodded on a bit further before a chill set in.There was no hope of achieving dry and no end to the rain in sight so I turned tale and headed back down the 950m I had come up.https://www.clubtread.com/forumPix/404000/404000.jpg
A break from your fam is still a break from your fam no matter what the conditions are and I'm a firm believer that every parent needs to have at least one full day away per month at least. It bolsters the patience and it helps you appreciate the small things.
It wasn't until I was almost back at the lot that I found the silver lining. At least there's something that really enjoys the moisture.
That, and I had made the asstute choice of wearing my swim shorts...one of the few times my foresight has between 20/20.
I completely appreciate your point of view. Raising kids the right way takes patience and sacrifice, but on the other hand your time in the hills takes on a much more profound and detailed appreciation. At one time I could not imagine what it would be like to be a dad, and now I can't imagine what it would be like to not be a dad.
I'm glad to got out all the same Cody, a little personal time never hurt. I'd have been right there with you if I could've - next time man!
I feel your pain.. err I mean zest for living life to its fullest!
Good on you for taking advantage of your "free" day!
My trip reports and trips i've been involved in have pretty much stopped after marriage and kids. =P
I think the hardest things for me, is the trying to get ready early in the AM in a very small apartment while hoping the kids don't wake up.
That and, willingly sleeping less to get outside knowing that there's no way I'll get that sleep back.
Before my daughter arrived, I think I was completely oblivious to how much life would change. Now I get it.
She is amazing, and I rush out of the office every day looking forward to seeing her. But the sacrifice of course is that personal time has disappeared. Even going to the bathroom seems to be social time now...
(The boys at the daycare seem to like her. I better bulk up.)
Being so open about your thoughts makes for inspiring reading.
I don't think you should view your backcountry interests as being so selfish. It's an important part of who you are, and likely a large part of why you were attractive as a future father. Having a hobby is not a crime or an indictment of your personality. Your needs deserve some respect as long as they're not obsessive. While you certainly need to sacrifice for the family, sacrificing too much of who you are is not healthy and does not set a good example either.
The limitations will ease off somewhat as your kids get older. Partly because they can go with you, and partly because they don't need so much attention.
The younger you have a family, the less you will miss the non-parent lifestyle. I had a child later in life, and never stopped missing the backcountry adventures I was no longer able to do. On the other hand, I was able to see the backcountry through new eyes and had the fun (and challenge) of helping a youngster enjoy what the backcountry has to offer. Now she's going into a mini-school program where her backcountry experience will be of obvious value to her.
With a family it becomes impossible to schedule outings with your friends, and you will lose touch with many who aren't raising kids. So you find yourself going out alone, in whatever weather happens. "Beggars can't be choosers", I'd say to myself.
This is interesting because you find you can have a satisfying time in "easy" places and in the most abominable conditions.
The downside is that as your situation forces you to recreate alone in more hazardous weather, at the same time it's more important to come home alive.
I really like your story. I started getting up early on my Fridays off so I would be out of the house by 4 am to be back around 1 or 2 in the afternoon and still be able to spend the day with them. The other key is to always bring a kid with me. Especially when they fit in a carrier. You might not go as far or as fast but you still get that escape to the outdoors. We have two girls 4 and 2 so with the two year old I can still toss her in the pack and do almost any day hike that I used to do. The four year old is a little tougher but I am slowly training her to enjoy hiking. I figure by 6 or 7 she will be able to do day hikes and backpacks of reasonable distances. For family activities canoing has worked well as the kids just sit and play and paddle for a bit while we do the work.
People with kids live the life they choose. You can be active and doing stuff all the time or you can sit on the couch and watch TV.
Good read Camel, I always enjoy your reports. Like you and others, I found creative ways to recreate. Since I had mondays off for most of my career, my mountain treks would often start 9pm on Sunday night with a drive to a car camp or a night walk in. Then home early afternoon the next day when the kids were young.
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