When I was writing out the story of my relationship with Mark last week, I had a wave of nostalgia for the couple we once were. It was weird looking through old photos and remembering our life before kids. So much of our relationship, and even our initial attraction to one another, was based on a sense of adventure. We loved to travel, to get out in the world, and to experience different things. We were active and spontaneous. If I’m honest, I would even say that the number of our passport stamps was a part of our shared identity. I used to joke that if I didn’t drink a Fanta out of a glass bottle at least twice a year, that I would die a little inside.
Once kids came along, obviously our lifestyle changed. It’s hard to be spontaneous when your entourage requires sippy cups, booster seats, and portable cribs. Travelling at this stage is more work than it is worth, and quite a bit pricier, too. Mark and I don’t get to be as adventurous as we once were. And while I wouldn’t change a thing and love my kids to pieces, I think it’s also important to recognize that we need to find new activities that bond us together, both as a couple and as a family. We need to find a new “thing”. Preferably a thing that is toddler-friendly. And it’s probably not going to be international travel, huh?
We are still hoping that kayaking can be one of our things, but it hasn’t really been kayaking weather. Today we decided to give geo-caching a try. It’s adventurous . . . in a lame, family-friendly sort of way. Although I feel this would be a much more attractive activity if it had a less dorky name. Can we change it to “rugged urban reciprocal treasure hunting” or something? Just so we don’t sound like total geeks?
Our first geocaching foray was not so great. We went out armed with an iphone app on a non-GPS phone. We could see a blinking dot where we were standing, and a blinking dot where the geocache was hidden. We had no compass or directions to tell us which direction that elusive dot was in relation to where we were standing. So I spent a good hour just running in circles trying to figure out how to align myself with the dot, which never happened.
We may have built the expectations up too high, because the kids were bent on finding all kinds of buried toys, and all that was really happening was two adults arguing over whether or not there was a way to auto-refresh our google maps while the kids whined about being bored and tried to run through mud puddles. At some point I tweeted:
And really, that’s kind of what the day boiled down to. Finally, we were able to find a geocache that was hidden on a bridge, so we didn’t have to rely on a blinking directionless dot. It was full of a few real and fake coins, which Jafta loved – he called it his pirate’s booty. The trinkets we brought to exchange wouldn’t fit into the rusted Altoid tin, so we ended up leaving the $5 bill I had in my pocket. Mark was a bit annoyed that we basically bought fifty cents and a couple plastic coins for $5, but I reminded him that it was all about the experience. Those two hours of searching and five tantrums along the way were SO WORTH IT!
Despite our day, we aren’t giving up on the idea of geocaching. It was still great to get out, and to have the dangling carrot of a treasure to keep Princess India moving. Mark has his eyes set on a directional GPS toy that will make the searching a bit easier. I have a feeling he will be buying it tomorrow.
Incidentally, this week a friend of mine celebrated her 40th birthday at a roller rink. And this guy and his wife showed up to bring the Xanadu.
She had on a very sparkly skirted leotard under that trenchcoat. I must confess, we had a little chuckle at their expense, and I was certainly not the only one trying to steal a picture of Big Red with my iphone. But then I thought, you know what? GOOD FOR THEM. They’re getting out there, they are active and staying fit, and they have a thing. A thing that they obviously love, that they are doing together.
I’m hoping we find our new thing. And I’m really hoping it isn’t competitive roller skating.