Monday, August 29, 2016

Mt. Allison Trip - Days 2,3 & 4 (All The Things We Didn't Do)

As we drive (anywhere from 8-15 hours a day), we keep seeing tantalizing signs along the side of the road: "Market!", "Oliver's Lumber and Gift Shop", "Snake River Petting Zoo", etc... The 19-year-old Quester in me wants to investigate each one. The 44-year-old father in me just wants to drop off my kid at university and get back to his $1000 memory foam-topped mattress.
I proposed a game to Leora. "We should keep track of all of the signs we can see from the road inviting us to do things. After the journey we can recount all of the things that we didn't do and maybe calculate how long it would've taken to actually do all of those things on our way to Mt. Allison.
But, all I've been able to think about today is what are all the things that I didn't do for her? Which roads did we not go down together? What are the things I saw signs for that I didn't teach her and which signs did I miss altogether?
When the girls were younger and I was still regularly reading a bedtime stories. When they both tucked in on either side of me and we fit comfortably on a twin mattress. They could not even see each other because my giant body was like a mountain between them. We played a game that became known as "Daddy talk show". Each girl would pepper me with questions about light and colour, how sound worked,  and about the ways of the universe. I loved trying to answer each question in as much detail as possible while still keeping the attention of a 3 and a 5-year-old. The girls loved staying up long past bed-time.

Last night we were in Ottawa, visiting Lee and Sandi. "Daddy Talk Show" was replaced by me sitting nearby for moral support, while Leora authorized an $8000 payment from her bank account. I didn't do anything but provide an eye experienced in the departure of hard-won cash. Leora was understandably upset to see her account reduced to a minuscule monthly salary that will barely cover toothpaste and a kilogram of coffee beans. She may have to forgo brushing ;)
"I barely have enough for my textbooks. I won't be able to buy anything... I won't be able to do ANYTHING," she said with certain despair.

I was headed out the door to get ready for bed. "You can read me to sleep, if you want," she said. I've been reading her mother to sleep nearly every night for 22 years. Like her mom, Leora's brain gets going too fast and has trouble stopping for something as trivial as sleep.

I thought about getting up at 6 a.m. (4 in Saskatchewan) and about the list of things I would need to do before bed. And how tired I was...

However, no one reading this blog has any doubt about how thrilled I am to be asked to read to anyone (much less one of my teenage Daughters). I think I kept my cool. I certainly bit my tongue before channeling Wesley from The Princess Bride and crying out something too desperate or corny sounding like, "...aaas youuu wiiiiish..."

I settled for the less imaginative, "Sure, I guess I have time."

In the end, we will both have to content ourselves with the understanding that you should not measure life by what you didn't do. There are just too many roadside attractions. Perhaps instead we can measure how deeply we adventured along the unknown path that was already beneath our feet.