We attend the Banff Film Fesrival every year. If you've never gone, go. You will be impressed. There is something for everyone who thinks nature is amazing. You don't need to be a free solo climber or a kayaker that drops 50 ft waterfalls. You will find some of those high adrenaline films, but you will also find beautiful films about elk migration and informative films about sustaining river health.
But anyway, I promise I'm not a Banff Film Fest employee paid to promote the festival! That wasn't even the point of this post, so allow me to begin.
Every year when I attend the festival, I leave feeling a combination of energized, excited, alive, adventurous, and, disappointed. The last one has been more pronounced since having children. I love my kiddos and am so glad I chose to be a mother. And I have had some funny/horrible parenting adventures, typically involving bodily excrements. Don't you want to be a parent now?!?
Most of parenting is mundane and schedule-focused and ssslllooowww. I love taking adventures with my kids, but, at the end of the hike or climb, they get cranky and I'm responsible for feeding them. And cleaning them up. Oh yeah, and getting them home and in bed. The drudgery of responsibility that never ends.
Let me paint another picture for you. My husband and I would arise at some ridiculously early hour, like 4am, and throw our gear in the truck to go ice climbing. We'd drive icy roads to remote places, and grimace at the cold when we got out of the truck. We'd slip on our boots and the many layers and hit the trail, always with a sense of thrill and wonder at how the climb would go. We'd climb all day, stopping for a cup of hot soup if and when we felt like it. Some days, we'd hike out somewhat early and head to dinner and a hot springs soak in the evening. Other days, it would be a long and quiet haul back to the truck by headlamp, and we'd collapse on the seat inside, exhausted and famished.
I loved it. The adventure. The not knowing. The deciding as you go. The freedom from responsibility other than personal safety (relative). The spontaneity. I even loved the exhaustion: cold and sore, dirty and cut up, and bruised and snotty; the sense of having used my body fully. And having used my body fully, I could take a long, hot shower and then fall into bed, again, without other responsibilities.
So, when I felt the disappointment creeping in, this time I decided to instead get excited about adventuring bigger and better than I have in my motherhood this far. I'm going to plan more short outings and some bigger/deeper/further adventures as well. I'm going to take the kids. And I'm going to leave the kids. Lastly, I'm going to remind myself that this beautiful thing of being a parent is finite. There will come a time in the not-so-distant future when I will wish for my son to call me, just to check in once in awhile. I will yearn for just a portion of that sense of responsibility, the one that right now feels like a chain around my neck, because with that great responsibility comes a connection you can never find in any adventure.