When I was seventeen, my best friend, Tania, and I jumped into my white Plymouth Duster and drove from State College, Pennsylvania, to Atlanta, Georgia—straight through in thirteen hours. We drove ninety miles an hour nearly the whole trip. We were reckless and young and crazy. But, oh, did we have fun. Singing at the top of our lungs, windows down, not a care in the world.
At twenty-one, I was at a Navigators retreat in Colorado over spring break and snuck out of camp with a group of friends to go climbing in the Rocky Mountains. I had never climbed anything that high before. But it was a beautiful sunny day, and that mountain was begging us to hike it. So we did.
At twenty-two, I packed up my Jeep and drove to Memphis, Tennessee, to work as a lifeguard at an inner-city kids’ camp for the summer.
At twenty-three I got married, and at twenty-five I had my first baby. By twenty-nine I had three children under the age of four, was a stay-at-home mom, and was feeling desperate. Eventually the desperate feelings eased as I entered a new season of my children getting older and me getting sleep. I didn’t feel desperate, but I did feel stuck.
What happened to me?
It seemed my adventuring days were over.
You see, when I think of adventure, I imagine doing big, wild, crazy things like I did when I was young. I think of bungee jumping off a bridge, going skydiving, or snorkeling in the ocean.
The thing is, I have no interest in my perception of adventure. I’m tired. I just want to sit in my comfy chair, read a good book, and drink my coffee. But my kids . . .
My kids want to do and live and explore. Of course they do—the world is new and wide open to them.
So how do you adventure with your little people when you are just done?
According to my friend Jillian, adventure is what you make it. She told me a story about her and her mom that has forever altered my perspective.
It was late on a school night and Jillian was in her bedroom doing homework when her mom knocked on the door. “Jilly, do you want a break?” her mom asked. “I’m really hungry for a cheeseburger.” The intrusion was a pleasant surprise. The two of them got in the car and her mom tuned the radio to a rock and roll station and rolled down the windows. She sang and drove and they laughed all the way to the fast-food restaurant located just blocks away. When they returned home and sat in the driveway with their snack, it wasn’t the food that made it so special. It was the fun and unique time Jillian had experienced with her mom. “It was small, but it felt true. It felt like adventure.”
I am so glad she told me that story.
I don’t have to traverse Mount Everest to have an adventure with my kids! If I just do something out of the ordinary, we can have adventures.
With Jillian’s story in mind, I recently went up to my oldest daughter’s bedroom. She was in bed, still awake.
“Do you want to go out and get some treats and watch a movie with me?”
She grinned big. I didn’t even make her change out of her pj’s. She put on a coat, and we headed to the grocery store. She picked out the biggest, most delicious looking cupcake she could find from the bakery. Then we wandered around, looking for something to fill my craving. I landed on lobster bisque. We headed home with our loot, and after I heated up my treat, we tucked ourselves into my bed for snuggles, good eats, and a movie; just the two of us. It was a sweet time, our own little adventure.
And it was then that I learned that it truly is the little things, the special things, the out-of-the-ordinary adventures that will burrow deep into the minds of our children.
So bring on the comfy chair and the coffee and the late-night snack runs and the laughter of doing something different.
Here’s to everyday adventure.
Sarah Mae’s new book Longing For Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure – Right Where She Is (Tyndale Momentum) recently released, and it can be yours! Enter to win a copy for yourself!