Part of the joy of parenting is that you gain a de facto second childhood yourself that you get to live out vicariously through your sprout.
For example, a treehouse can (and will) be ingeniously pushed upon my son as a “super-awesome gift,” not an antiquated relic to finally cross off my pre-adolescent wish list.
And then there’s the joy of actually participating in these “childish” activities without looking like a creep. Someday Bub and I will jockey for position on a diabolically-designed slot car track and build gloriously inpenetrable Lego fortresses to defend. And in just a couple short years, I’ll make my long-overdue return to the mini-golf circuit, and there will be absolutely nothing weird about that at all.
But the part I’m perhaps most looking forward to will be our travels. I remember my brother and I playing Road Bingo for most of the 20 hours to Disney World and my dad winning a stuffed animal bigger than the trunk in a horribly failed attempt to show us what a waste of money games of skill were.
Travel also burns crisp details in our minds, like negatives that can be retrieved and printed, usually random in nature. The gas station right next to the endless orange groves. The green, mushy brain of a Cape Cod lobster. My grandfather stashing his radar as we crossed to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. And so on. These will live forever with me, and I can’t wait to create these images for my son, with my family.
In fact, we’ve already started. Not fearing the reaper, we took what some might call our first family vacay when Bub hit six months. While it wasn’t exactly Papeete, we did find Springfield, IL to be a nice, family-friendly destination awash in history.
Aside from actually wanting to go ourselves, we decided on Springfield for the following reasons:
It was about a 3.5 hour drive, which we thought Bub could manage, and worked fairly well with his feeding times.
2. Lack of proximity
It was far enough away that we would have to spend a night and see how adaptable Bub could be.
There was enough to see and do (but not too much) in a day and a half without feeling rushed.
I’m happy to report all went pretty much according to plan. Sure, our muffler broke and we spent a couple hours at Meineke, but no minor mishaps. We forgot burp rags, we used hotel towels. You extemporize, you make do, and you buy plenty of cheesy souvenirs. Isn’t that what parenting’s all about?