One of my all-time most prized possessions is a picture of the kids climbing in a tree on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.
Nikki had this picture blown up and gave it to me as a gift. It hangs in the house where I see it every day.
We travel. We adventure.
Of all the wild things we’ve done and seen, this is one of my favorites.
This picture is so special to me because it is one of my kids’ favorite days of their lives. All Four remember that day years later as a nearly perfect one.
The cool part is we started that particular adventure as… “going for a walk.”
It wasn’t planned; we didn’t bring water or granola bars. I think the kids all had shoes on, but the reality of that just seems nearly impossible.
It was going to be a ten-minute stroll down to the beach to “check it out.” Instead, it ended up being 4-5 hours of adventure. A Shipwreck, a river crossing that may or may not have been full of Caiman, a perfect tree for the kids to mimic and practice their monkey ability with actual monkeys barking at them the whole time, a dad win of getting coconuts out of a super tall tree and my youngest running out of the jungle a la’ “Lord of the Flies” proclaiming, “I found a machete!” Can You imagine?
The funny part is, I, as the dad, kind of fought the entire day. When my wife discovered the Shipwreck a mile and a half down the beach, I tried to ensure the family that we just weren’t prepared for an all-day excursion. We needed to go back home and get some supplies. I was nervous crossing the river, positive that one of our family was going to be attacked by a caiman and me there, with no medical supplies. My 4-year-old with a giant Rusty machete? Come on?!
Here’s what this picture represents to me:
Sometimes, I need to get out of my own way. I have spent hours studying this picture and we have it blown up in our house as a 4 ft canvas. I look into their faces and see kids having the kind of Adventure, Excitement, and Fun that we dream about. Not planned or paid for… But discovered.
Even while all of this was going on there was an itch that I had to “finish up and get back home.” I had kind of planned how this day was going to go and we were well past our 10-minute “Let’s go check out the beach” initial intel-gathering prep walk and I was fighting the fun.
Like Nikki said, “You used to be bad about that.”
This picture, This split second in time is a reminder to me to let life happen. Quit planning! Be up for audibles and options. Listen to the Universe when it’s trying to get your attention.
I have changed the way I parent, my stress levels and my ability to allow fun to just happen because of this picture.