When I was seventeen, my best friend, Tania, and I jumped into my white Plymouth Duster and drove from State College, Pennsylvania, to Atlanta, Georgia—straight through in thirteen hours. We drove ninety miles an hour nearly the whole trip. We were reckless and young and crazy. But, oh, did we have fun. Singing at the top of our lungs, windows down, not a care in the world.
At twenty-one, I was at a Navigators retreat in Colorado over spring break and snuck out of camp with a group of friends to go climbing in the Rocky Mountains. I had never climbed anything that high before. But it was a beautiful sunny day, and that mountain was begging us to hike it. So we did.
At twenty-two, I packed up my Jeep and drove to Memphis, Tennessee, to work as a lifeguard at an inner-city kids’ camp for the summer.
At twenty-three I got married, and at twenty-five I had my first baby. By twenty-nine I had three children under the age of four, was a stay-at-home mom, and was feeling desperate. Eventually the desperate feelings eased as I entered a new season of my children getting older and me getting sleep. I didn’t feel desperate, but I did feel stuck.
What happened to me?
It seemed my adventuring days were over.
When I think of adventure, I think of doing big, wild, crazy things. I think of bungee jumping off a bridge, going skydiving, or snorkeling in the ocean.
The thing is, I have no interest in my perception of adventure. I’m tired. I just want to sit in my comfy chair, read a good book, and drink my coffee. But my kids.
My kids want to do and live and explore. Of course they do, the world is new and wide open to them.
So how do you adventure with your little people when you are just done?
According to my friend Jillian, adventure is what you make it. She told me a story about her mom that has forever altered my perspective.
She told me about a time when her mom knocked on her bedroom and asked if she wanted to go out for a late night cheeseburger. She got in the car and her mom, put the windows down, turned on some rock and roll. She sang and drove and laughed, and my friend thought it was such a fun, unique time with her mom. She says this memory sticks out to her as something so special. It was small, yes, but it felt like an adventure.
I am so glad she told me that story.
I don’t have to traverse Mount Everest to have an adventure with my kids! If I just do something out of the ordinary, we can have adventures.
With Jillian’s story in mind, I recently went up to my oldest daughter’s bedroom. She was in bed, still awake.
“Do you want to go out and get some treats and watch a movie with me?”
She grinned big. I didn’t even make her change out of her pj’s. She put on a coat, and we headed to the grocery store. She picked out the biggest, most delicious looking cupcake she could find from the bakery. Then we wandered around, looking for something to fill my craving. I landed on lobster bisque. We headed home with our loot, and after I heated up my treat, we tucked ourselves into my bed for snuggles, good eats, and a movie; just the two of us. It was a sweet time, our own little adventure.
And it was then that I learned that it truly is the little things, the special things, the out-of-the-ordinary adventures that will burrow deep into the minds of our children.
Taking the kids along to find the best croissant in Lititz, PA (Dosie Dough)
Having your kids serve breakfast to some homeless folks on Thanksgiving
Enjoy a spontaneous trip to the ice cream shop when everyone is feeling a bit grumpy
So bring on the comfy chair and the coffee and the late night snack runs and the laughter of doing something different.
Here’s to everyday adventure.
For more ideas, and to get some answers to how to delight in life right where you are, check out Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure…Right Where She Is