Nothing excites AK Kid more than an outing with his dad. Just the two of them, geared-up and ready for adventures not always understood by me. It’s probably best that way, since the little I have heard is enough to make me squawk “You went where?!”
I’m also convinced my husband is Partydad when it comes to keeping home fires burning while I’m away; that he’s actually a 12-year old boy in a 52-year old man’s body, happy to spend a rainy, windy afternoon running back and forth along the beach looking for any reason at all to toss AK Kid into the air – “horsing around,” they call it. Add a decided lack of scheduling, meals void of vegetable matter, full of chips and garlic dip, and late nights watching DVD’s of Hawaii 5-0. Clearly, mom’s business trips are less about me being gone and more about the two of them lighting it up. I can’t wait for the teen years.
Father’s Day usually means travel, and thus, a fair bit of scrambling for AK Kid to make his daddy a present out of markers, duct tape, and notebook paper. I stash a gift in our bags and present it to him on the way to some awesome experience I just know he’ll enjoy. And he does, embracing our lifestyle, however, as a mere drop in the full bucket of life’s blessed water.
I get that, now.
Somewhere in between a near-fatal bicycle accident in 2011 and the raising up of a young adult son with a rainbow of mental illness diagnoses, I’ve discovered what AK Dad really wants for Father’s Day – Time. Not a fancy flightseeing trip, not a man cave fishing weekend, and not a ticket for the annual Beer Train next fall (although that did come in a close second). My husband, it seems, just wants to be with his sons, doing simple stuff that is real, honest, and fun.
Family travel reality check coming up: What if, by chance, we shifted the focus of travel, even Alaska family travel, from expensive tours and moments we believe will enrich our lives through “OMG” moments – to quiet experiences of joy? Like, perhaps:
Walking (or running) on a beach.
Digging for worms and rocks and tiny little crabs that tickle when they skitter across your palms.
Hiking with no agenda.
Fishing, not catching.
Camping, be it in the middle of a city backyard, or the wild Alaska backcountry.
Climbing the same rock or downed tree, over and over and over again, just because it’s cool and comforting.
Riding a mountain bike downhill.
It’s just a thought. OMG.