Way back at Christmas time Rob’s dad gave us their hand-me-down canoe which they kept at the Grandparents’ house in Virginia. We finally picked it up and drove it home to our garage over Spring Break.
On an angsty day in the late spring I complained that I never get to do anything fun, not even take out our own canoe because I’m always home doing the day to day stuff. So I named the canoe Barefoot-in-the-kitchen, and got a babysitter for the day and Rob’s sister Molly and I took Barefoot-in-the-kitchen out for a ride down the Cuyahoga River. We had a leisurely day out exploring the strip of wilderness which runs between Kent and Waterworks Park. There were deer with their fawns, herons, geese and goslings and groundhogs. There was quiet and peace, and moderate adventure. It was completely worth the trouble of loading Barefoot up and taking it back down.
I hadn’t had the chance to take the kids out yet, so I brought it to an end of the year picnic with some Redeemer families. The river was flooded over the banks so it wasn’t safe to take the kids out, but I just couldn’t resist. We pulled it over to a section of the parking lot which flooded and canoed around the puddle instead. It wasn’t exactly an adventure, but at least I knew all my kids, even Cressida were sea ready. They followed the rules and stayed in their seats.
So when we left to go on our annual Mom/kid-only camping trip with our friends the Penns (Colleen from Clever Nesting), I brought Barefoot with us. We spent three days in Hocking Hills State Park. On the second day we took Barefoot out on Lake Logan. Two moms and 5 kids.
This guy saw us unloading Barefoot and said, “Where are your men?” I chuckled, “Our men travel for a living so we have fun without them.” The man chuckled back and said, “Ah, revenge.” It’s not exactly revenge… more like not giving up and being boring just because it’s hard. When you’re a kid, challenging adventures are worth doing because a lot of the things you have to do are already challenging, you might as well put up with more challenges so you can have some fun. Once you become a grown-up you know how to avoid the challenges and walk the easier route. There’s so much to do, you don’t always have time for the challenge. But I’m finding that the stuff my kids enjoy doing as a family the most are the things that take the most effort and patience on my part. Also, I’d rather be out on Barefoot-in-the-kitchen than be at home, barefoot, in the kitchen.
The challenge is worth it.
And then when we come home and spend the whole next day on the couch playing Minecraft, I don’t feel so guilty.