There are many firsts throughout your life: the 1st time your parents leave you at home alone, driving a car(without a parent), having “relations” with another person, leaving home, renting a car, getting on a airplane(it is implied that you will be flying), your 1st real job that starts your career,. These are all times that make an impression in certain people’s lives and there are many others. This week I got two and they both involved my 1st son(you see what I did there? wink wink nudge nudge say no more say no more). I got to see his 1st soccer game and we went on our 1st backpacking trip in the Sipsey Wilderness. So to preface this entry: I am going to talk about being a parent and that makes me very happy, I will not go on about how wonderful the creation of life by wife and I is, and I hope to express some thoughts that make sense to anyone. So if any of this annoys you stop now for there is no hope.
Someone typed a comment today that made me realize many things at once. It was said to me that, “You really like this ‘dad’ thing!”. My response was more than you will every know, who knew?! By no stretch of the imagination do I claim to be a great father, but I am however accepting and enjoying the fact that life is not about me anymore and more about something so much larger and better than I will ever be. Much like my philosophy in education, I am only a facilitator. My job is not to change anyone, but merely to be there in a moment that someone needs some help in understanding something that is hard to comprehend or needs a new perspective on a certain situation, no more no less. This stretches out into being a parent. As I have said before, parenthood was not something that was on my radar. Yet, life has a funny way of giving you what you need rather than what you want. So I have taken the stance that I an active participant and all I can really do everyday is experience and help influence the ones that are my responsibility. My kids are typed about many times in this blog, but you write what you know and this is what I am aware of here and now. I have spent everyday this last week just watching and soaking it all in so that I will always have those little mental images and emotions that no one can ever take away. So much of life is about what we can get and I am getting mine. It just so happens that “getting mine” involves memories. The pictures, the letters, the little trinkets are all wonderful and I think that I understand why people hold onto these physical things. They are trying to make connections to times and things in their past that bring them to a happier moment or experience. Being raised by a person who is inclined to hoarding it pushes me more each day to just live in the moment and try as hard as possible to experience the time right then. I fondly think back on things, but I hope that my brain will not fail me in recalling those thoughts or emotions.
Walking out into the woods this weekend with my father-in-law, nephew, and son made some things move to the forefront of my conscience. I enjoy being outside. Every person has a duality and mine is very apparent to me every since I moved to NYC. Living in a suburb such as Homewood with my neighbors literally feet away from my windows and then walking into the woods to get away from it all sums it all up. I am greedy for both worlds: the hustle and bustle of city life with the breaks to go out and survive in the woods. I know that I am not living off the land setting traps and skinning animals while I hike through the wilderness, but I am aware that loading up 35-40 lbs. of gear and walking out into woods is a skill that most in our society have yet to obtain. My love for the outdoors and spirituality are so tied up in walking in the woods that it is hard to see where one begins and another ends. Before I knew my wife I used to take hikes all by myself for the weekend. My father used to comment that I was not in church(he is a preacher and I used to show up at his church to hear my old man reign down fire and brimstone), but I would just look at him and say, “I was not in your church”.
With everything that happens and every way that we can document, visualize, create, and capture every moment we have now for the interwebs, people are always yelling “LIVE IN THE MOMENT”. What I have come to understand is through all this documentation we are living in the moment, so that we can live in those moments again and again and again. When I take a picture of my sons, what we are doing, what I am seeing, and post it to “fill-in-blank” social media outlet, I am doing so within seconds because of our technology and go back to that moment without missing a beat. We all adjust to our surroundings and as humans we do that better than almost any creature that I know. Yes, we make our surroundings shape to our liking, but we do adjust also. Be aware that it is about all that and so much more. If you have yet to figure that out, we will wait as long as you need us to so that you can enjoy this existence as much as we do.