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May Through the iPhone

4 June 2014

It’s June. It’s summer. It’s time for picnics and pet squirrels and cloth diapers on the clothesline.

Wait, that was May.

We had adventures in May.

First bike ride. First tree-climbing (kind of). Lots of wagon rides and picnics and muddy boots and sleepy mornings.

May 3May 4

Adventures are funny things. Because you can’t plan an adventure, but you can plan to have one. We can pull on our boots and throw blankets in the wagon and go out to find an adventure, but we can’t ever know what it’s going to be.

Still, adventure never disappoints. Not completely. You might not have the adventure – or the kind of adventure – that you want, but if Adventure is on the To Do list, you can almost always find it. Or be found by it.

And if, at the end of the day as you rinse the residue away, you feel like you’ve had an adventure, no one can tell you otherwise. Even though you didn’t create it, you caught and tamed it, so you get to own it forever. From inception to exhaustion to memories cropped to neat little squares – your adventures are your own. 

May 5May 6

And I’m learning – my toddler is teaching me – that adventures can also be sneaky. Like anything else wild, they don’t want to be caught and tamed, and some know they can’t outrun a fearless one-year-old so they try something else.

They camouflage.

The slow ones disguise themselves as trials and problems and difficulties. Because no one wants to catch those. We run from those. We lament them. We ignore and avoid and kick them out and forget about them as soon as we can.

But the Man Cub is wise, and he recognizes an adventure when he sees one. His seem small – uneven sidewalks, fallen tree branches, bumble bees. They’re toddler-sized problems to some, but they’re toddler-sized adventures to him.

Mama-sized “problems” look like bills and piles of laundry and limited resources, but I’m learning. At least some of those are actually slow-moving adventures that don’t want to be tamed.

May 1

So I’m studying his methods, and learning how to set traps for more adventures. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Don’t stare at it too long. – Uneven sidewalk? Just charge it. If it’s an adventure, you’ll know it soon enough. If it’s not, you won’t have wasted any time.
  2. When in doubt, assume it is an adventure. – Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of a situation and you’re not sure what’s going on. Assume it’s an adventure until you’re proven wrong – laugh at it, enjoy it, give it all you’ve got. Better to treat a problem like an adventure, than get duped by an adventure pretending to be a problem.
  3. Adventures are messy. – Whether it’s mud, peanut butter, boogers or emotions, there will be at least a little bit of a mess. That’s how you know you’re doing it right. Still, you don’t want to go to bed like that, so when your adventure is over, it’s okay to take a bubble bath and wash the messy part away. It’s not weak or cowardly, it’s just how it works – adventures live on in stories and pictures, not between your toes. That’s what adventure turns to fungus, and that’s not what you set out for.

Had any good adventures lately? Discovered any masquerading as problems?

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