Lifestyle lockdown: Lifted?

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Can it be the parents-of-two-tiny-kids lifestyle lockdown is lifting? Whether this lockdown has been perceived or actual is up for debate, but no matter, because we did something very exciting last weekend.

We went kayaking, all four of us, as a family.

I wish I had photos because words don’t work for how I felt having our first outdoor adventure as a family. For the past four years, Brian and I have felt a tad stuck. Tired. Overwhelmed. Like slaves to the tots’ schedules, which were ironically self-imposed and necessary to our own sanity. Sometimes, it’s been about just trying to survive the week, the day, the hour. And yet last Sunday, seemingly overnight, we were strapping on life jackets and shoving off from a beach together, all four of us. The lightness of the experience was indescribable.

Riding single-person kayaks, respectively, Brian and I towed one kid each in the jump seat. All of us giggling, we raced toward the pier to the soundtrack of splashing water and airshow jets flying over us. Charlie had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on his consummately serious face, and he hollered at me like a coxswain. “Faster, Mommy! We’ve gotta catch Daddy! Paddle faster! C’mon, Mommy, go!!”

While three of four Quinns were into the race, Kip had other ideas about our paddling adventure. “Yet’s just go nice and swhoa, Mommy,” he pleaded.

“Ok, baby. We’ll go slow.”

“Fanks, Mommy. I yike it when we just paddle swhoawy,” he paused. “I reawy wuv being out here wiff you.”

As I handed Kip the paddle to try his hand at doing it by himself, I could see the family adventures ahead of us. He crawled into my lap and grasped the paddle between my hands. “Mommy, yet’s do teamwork,” he said. In that delicious moment of Kip’s hands touching mine while we both gripped the same paddle, jet ski wake lapping around us, I could almost see coral reefs and big fish, mountain hikes and ski runs, surf camps and skies filled with stars.

“We are going to have so much fun together,” I thought. And then, noticing I hadn’t stopped smiling since the moment I saw Charlie and Kip perched on their jump seats as we shoved off, I edited my thought: “Wow, this is happening right now. We ARE having so much fun together. Thank you, Universe.”

Aside from these two snaps, taken before we set out, I have no photos to show for our adventure.

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If I did have more pictures, I suppose they’d be of this:

–       Me, smiling for the entire hour we spent on the water.

–       Charlie perched on the bow of the kayak screaming, “Faster, Mommy!”

–       Kip, sitting erect and uncertain, grasping the sides of the kayak with white knuckles. Subsequently, the softened look on his face when I called to him, “Hey, Kip! I love you!”

–       Brian, strong and sturdy, paddling faster than I could catch him. Me, as my trying-extra-hard face succumbed to laughter.

–       The smile that Kip must’ve beamed when he called to Brian and Charlie: “Look, guys! I doing it!”

–       Charlie jumping into the lake and paddling like a puppy all around the kayak as Brian reclined in his seat.

–       Brian, competent, loving and overflowing with a masculine beauty, as he pulled Charlie out of the water and into his kayak, Charlie beaming.

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8 thoughts on “Lifestyle lockdown: Lifted?

  1. Ohhhhhh, this post makes me soooo happy. Thank you for sharing this fun family adventures! I miss you guys so…

  2. I’ve often felt this way too Em, I feel like I am counting the days until my sweet E baby no longer goes to bed before 6pm so we can actually do something together as an entire family in the evening and on weekend afternoons. So glad you are now able to get out and enjoy being together!

  3. LOVE THIS! I’m currently on lockdown, but have seen small glimpses of this on very special occasions! You are such a talented writer and I really enjoy reading anything you post. Glad you had such a special day with your sweet boys.

  4. Your story takes me back to happy places of adventure ranging from Indian Princess canoe trips to hikes in Maine and the Black Hills, hiking and horsebacking in Colorado. Then on to progressively higher adventure experiences: backpacking the Grand Canyon, suffering angst of remaining behind trapped in my acrophobia while you continued on to Angel’s Landing in Zion, the swim/hike at Mira Flores in Cabo, our sea kayak adventure the day before your wedding. Like you, I have many more pictures in the mind than I can hold in my hand. Even when the challenge of the adventure bore down too much for an out-and-out smile, the inner joy was there. Still is. It is so uplifting to see you enjoying the experiences that are so simple and natural.

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