So this is it. I spent hours last night clicking through hundreds of free blog templates. I just could not find what I was looking for. I wanted simple, but with character. Finally, in a last ditch effort, I fumbled across madebymadeline.com, and there it was-- toast. I immediately thought about my all time favorite Glee quote. Sue Sylvester was ranting and raving to Becky Jackson (who happens to have Down syndrome) when Becky just very matter of fact says to Sue.....
I love Becky so much.
So this post marks the first of the "newly evolved" Eicherumba...
When I was pregnant with Ace, I would constantly dream of the adventures we would share together throughout her childhood. Huck Finn like stuff. Exploring the world together. I wanted her to have the most amazing childhood ever, the kind you only find in storybooks. Then somewhere between zero and four, those dreams got lost. And I found myself just trying to figure out what Disney movie would keep her attention the longest so that I could get some peace and quiet, driving around in the car just to kill time, or finding a game on my phone that she could get lost in. Then Archie came along and not much changed. Other than the fact that I felt a little less guilty because she finally had a buddy to play with.
Don't get me wrong, we have always done a lot of fun stuff, and we are pretty much the goofiest family in the world. But I was constantly saying or thinking, "man, I can't wait until they are big enough to do x,y, and z." Or, "I can't wait until we own a home and can do this and that." Or, "I can't wait until we have enough money to go here and there." I eventually realized that I was "I can't waiting" their childhood away. What the heck was I really waiting for?
I read Oh the Places You'll Go to them quite a bit. It is one of their favorites. (Mine too). Recently, the part about "The Waiting Place" really started to get to me.
You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!
The answer was right there all along- I simply needed to get my ass out there and find those bright places where the Boom Bands were playing.
And so begins, our Journey to an Epic Childhood.
I woke up this morning, feeling like it was just another day, but I quickly remembered, "crap, today is the first day of the rest of my life." Neither kid had school today, which would have normally meant MOVIE MARATHON. But this was a new day. I really didn't have much of a plan, but I knew it was going to involve being outside with good old mother nature. Giving my kids a real taste of the great outdoors. So off to Academy we went for hiking boots.
I knew of a pretty cool spot on the bayou near my parents' house. So we headed there. Ace was so excited. All morning she was asking me, "mom, whats that place what we're going to again? Oh yeah, a bayou, like 'bye you' or 'bye me'...like that, mom?" Yeah, like that, baby.
I wasn't sure how they would actually feel about hiking once we got there. They absolutely love being outside, but both of them beg to be carried after walking like three steps anywhere, so I just didn't know how this would go.
I was so thrilled to see them so happy. They LOVED it. Ace just took off like a little wilderness guide. She told us we needed to pick up sticks to use to help us get through the trees.
She explored every step of the way, finding all sorts of bugs. She also found some poop, and we had a lengthy discussion about what type of animal poop it was. She's still not sure, but she's gonna let me know next time.
And Archie Bear. Holy moly did he surprise me. My little boy who hates being dirty. Cannot stand anything touching him. He was right in there with Ace. I couldn't believe that he walked as long and far as he did.
We took a picnic break after a while.
Did some more exploring
That is when Ace spotted a nice steep hill behind us and asked me if she could climb it. I didn't really think that was going to happen and I tried to dissuade her, but she was pretty adamant. So I told her that I would try it first and see if I thought she could do it. So I made it to the top, and it wasn't super easy. But she still wanted to do it. So I went behind her and pushed her little bottom to the top of that hill. I was really shocked (and proud) that she wanted to do that. She is not fearless by any means. So she made it to the top and was so thrilled with herself. Getting back down was the tricky part. I held her and we pretty much slid down. A big stick about halfway down forced me to stand up, and I went running down full speed while holding Ace and screaming louder than I have ever screamed in my life. Have you ever run down a really steep hill? Imagine doing it while holding a 40 pound kid. I thought we were going down for sure. But we made it to the bottom, still standing, Ace was cracking up.
After seeing that fun, Archie wanted to give it a go. NO WAY was my first response. But of course, that didn't last. Again, this is not a fearless child. He was being so brave and I wanted to encourage that. So off we went. At first, he wanted me to practically carry him up. He hates touching dirt, so he wanted me to be his arms. That just wasn't going to happen. So I told him, "Archie, if you want to do this, you have to touch dirt. I promise it will be okay and we can wash it off." He finally agreed, "okay, mom, okay." And he started climbing up. He is a pretty solid and heavy boy, proving to be a much greater challenge to get up that hill than his sister. At one point when we were about three-quarters of the way up, he got stuck. He couldn't pull himself up, and I couldn't push him up. But at this point, there was no turning back. So I climbed up around him, and tried to pull him up. He thought it was the funniest thing in the world. I was totally freaked out. I couldn't pull him up, and I started to slip, and the next thing I knew I was literally rolling down the hill. You can see that it's not some ridiculously huge hill, but it felt like I was rolling forever. And I was screaming all sorts of things I should never scream in front of my children. Ace was standing at the bottom and snapped a picture of the aftermath. You can see Archie sliding down behind me. He thought that was the greatest thing in the world.
At the end of it all when we were walking back to the car, Ace said to me, "mom, my favorite part was when you fell down the hill." Thanks, mine too.
At least I looked awesome in my Janis Joplin T-Shirt, cut off jean shorts, tube socks, and hiking boots. (We went to the pet store later and I thought a picture in front of the amphibians in this get-up was only appropriate.)
I am excited for the adventures to come for me and my ragamuffins. (and hopefully Daddy some, too). I know some of you are like, "what's the big deal, we go hiking all the time...." And I know this wasn't some crazy adventure. But it was a start for us. We are going to be trying all sorts of new things, adding some new routines into our lives, some new traditions. We are going to LIVE, not merely exist.
I have also been learning a lot about myself lately, and I will share those things here too. I want to write in my authentic voice without fear of any sort of judgement. As a recovering people pleaser who still falls off the wagon every once in a while, I really want to stop worrying about what anyone else might think of me, and just start being ME. As Bob Dylan said, "All I can do is be me, whoever that is."
Lots of Love!