Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Parental Wisdom

I've been trying to figure out how to phrase the way things changed for us when Kirk came back. Carpe diem - that sort of encapsulates it in a classical Latin kind of way. Our kids learned to say the family motto was 'live life, don't watch it,' and that too sums it up; but it doesn't say why.

I think what happened was being away from eachother for months, and experiencing what we did separately and together, made us realize how amazing our life together was. It sounds terribly twee and facile when I put it into words, but what we found was that life itself, just the daily process, was fantastic and should be enjoyed

Take food, for instance. I love to cook, but we started to share the process together, enjoying the tactile, sensual experience from raw ingredients to finished meal.

Weekends weren't just enjoyed, we siezed them by the throat and throttled the fun out of them from start to finish. We went up to Denali, camped up and down the Turnagain arm, drove to Wasilla or Haines, mountain biked, hiked... it was fantastic.

And just about every evening Kirk and I went for a walk together. Alone. This was Kirk's idea and it took a little convincing.

'But the kids...'

'Child 1 is over 11 and very mature for its age. Right?'

'Well... yes... but'

'And there are 30 people within a block and a half that the kids know they can call on if they need to, right?'

'Well... yes... but'

'Not to mention all three have known how to use 911 since they were 3, right?'

'Well... but...' Babies! Children! Alone! For a whole... 20 minutes.

'I'll tell you what,' Kirk said finally. 'Why don't you just look them in the eye and tell them the most important thing, the thing they need to know to survive the next 20 minutes, okay?'

Right. The kids can chant it along with me now, but for anyone who needs to know the really important stuff when you're leaving your kids alone, here it is:

'No floods, no fires, no natural disasters.
No broken bones, no spurting blood, no sucking chest wounds.'

And Kirk firmly took me out the door. We walked up the hills to where you can look over Eagle River valley. It was cool enough that I kept my hand warm by putting it with Kirk's hand in his big coat pocket. The sky turned amethyst, and then sapphire, and we walked slowly back home.

When we came in the door the kids looked up.

'Oh. Did you go already?'

I'm sure the little insects were just covering up for how much they had missed me.

No comments: