Last weekend I was walking in the middle of a frozen lake with ice audibly cracking under my gigantic body. I survived. A few weeks before that I was hit by a car. I survived that as well. I plunged down an icy cliff onto somebody’s second story deck with my son on my lap. I have been arrested. I have stood up in front of hundreds of people to sing with a giant hole in my pants. I have fallen on the ground and been attacked in the face by a rogue beverage. In short, I have been on many adventures.
In all of these cases, there are a few commonalities. One, of course, is that they make great stories to share with readers and listeners alike. Another is that they are some of my most vivid memories. There are many stories I tell in this space that, years later, I will re-read and say “ohhh yeaaaaahhhhhhh” as the memory of a silly incident from my past comes flooding back into my brain. But there are other stories that I do not have to look up. They will be forever burned into my thoughts as the greatest adventures of my life. And of course, they all involve a little bit of fear.
The times in my life that I recall with the most detail and vivid accuracy are the times when I was afraid. The time I saw my child hurtling out of control on a bike directly into traffic. The time I stood in an audition and forgot the words. The time I had to tell someone I was sorry. Every moment in life that my mind has deemed worthy of instant recall has somehow involved being a little bit afraid. I suppose there could be many reasons for this. My body is probably trying to tell my stupid brain to cut it out! Stop doing those dumb things! But, like most things I tell my children to do, just the opposite has occurred. By searing these decisions and events into my almost-consciousness, they have come to define me and the adventure that is my life.
I’m kind of glad that I was a little scared on the ice this weekend. I’ve walked on frozen lakes many times, but this one is going to stick in my mind for a long while. I’m even kind of glad that my children constantly terrify me. Because it’s the days where nothing really happens that eventually fade away. I know I should take time to appreciate the small things, the little moments, and I do try. But since I was as young as I can remember, my heart has ached for adventure, and if you’re not scared, it’s not an adventure. And if that is truly the case, then parenting is the greatest adventure of them all. And I fear it is only getting started.