Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Man Up!

Pre-Script:  My feminist side will have a hard time writing this, but it has to be done.

We are at a weeklong campout with about seventy other adoptive families.  Yesterday, I opened the door to our trailer to go inside and refill my coffee cup (I know some people wouldn’t call this camping, but it’s as rough as I want to get).  When I stepped inside, I noticed a movement off to my left.  I looked and saw that a tiny brown bird had found its way into our trailer.  I’m a bit afraid of the flapping of bird wings, so I immediately stepped (jumped, perhaps) back outside and looked over to the teenage boy that has been hanging out at our site, “Spencer! (Oops, wrong name) Duncan!  There’s a bird in the trailer!  Will you get it out?”  Actually, I’m not sure I phrased that last sentence as a question; it might have been more of a command.  Either way, Duncan got right up and went into the trailer.

It occurred to me, as I watched him head off on his white horse to save the campsite full of women, that men, especially good men, often head off to do what’s expected of them, even if what’s expected is not something that’s comfortable for them.  Perhaps Duncan, too, is afraid of the flapping of bird wings – too bad, Man Up!  There’s a snake in the pond?  Man Up!  Firewood needs to be unloaded and kindling chopped?  Man Up!

I have to say that if Duncan had not been available, I would have been perfectly capable of getting the bird out of the trailer.  In fact, there’s not much that I couldn’t do if I needed to – I’m a strong woman and I, too, can Man Up!, but I like that I don’t have to be the one to do everything.  Years ago, before we were married, my husband wrote me a letter that contained words he’s often regretted in a joking manner.  In the letter, he said that he was glad to have found the person that would make him whole, his helpmate, the person who would do (and these are the regretted words), “those little things I have no time or taste for.”  Well, I, too, like knowing that someone else will step in and do those things I have no time or taste for (like rescuing birds, removing snakes, chopping firewood, etc.)   I’m surrounded by good men who readily Man Up!  My dad was that kind of man and my husband certainly is.  As we’ve raised sons, perhaps teaching them to Man Up! is part of what turns a male person into a good man.  If so, I’ll continue to expect them to readily Man Up! when needed and I hope I’ve also taught my daughters to Man Up!

Monday, August 6, 2012

If I Didn't Have Children, I'd Have Time to Write -- But What Would I Write About?

Yesterday, on our drive to Florence, Oregon for our annual Holt Family Campout, we stopped in Eugene for lunch, meeting up with some of our other kids who were driving down in other vehicles.  We had a great lunch and then everyone piled back into the cars for the final leg over the Cascades to Florence.  We weren’t even out of Eugene when my cell phone rang.  It was my son, a passenger in the suburban driven by my teenage daughter, saying that they needed gas.  “Yes,” I replied, “I knew you’d have to stop for gas.”

“No,” my son said, “We can’t move.  We’re at a stop light and the car won’t run.”  Great!  We exited the highway, headed back to where we thought they were and then went through the fun of pushing the suburban out of the line of traffic, waiting while hubby and Teenage Daughter (who was learning ever so many life lessons) went in search of a gas station that also sold gas cans.  They came back with a one-gallon gas can and, after many attempts, finally got the lid to work.  We poured the gas into the tank, tried starting the car, but one-gallon of gas will not start a suburban so back to the gas station…

While waiting with the other teenagers who were passengers in the suburban, I asked how Teenage Driver managed to let the burb go completely empty.  After all, the vehicle beeps and flashes a warning message – Fuel Level Low.  How did she not see this?  The backseat teenagers said, “We don’t know!  We heard it a long time ago. – before we stopped for lunch.”  Yet, they didn’t say anything to their sister when she kept driving.

Luckily we weren’t in a hurry and we were all able to make jokes and laugh about the experience, but it was still a stressor on top of an already busy, stressful day.  As I got back into the car with hubby, I said, “Tell me again why we have kids.”

“Do you really want to go there?” he replied.

I thought for a few minutes about what my life would be like without our seven no-longer-little darlings.  We’d have a lot more money, that’s for sure.  We’d have a lot of free time – heck, I’d even have time to write.  I could write all day for days at a time.  I might even be a world famous author by now.  And then it hit me – I’d have the time to write, but what would I write about?  Where would I find the adventures?  What would our stories look like?  I’m sure we would be living fine lives without our seven no-longer-little darlings, but I like this adventure and I like these stories – even when I don’t have enough time to write them.