I just finished watching "Into the Wild," and though I liked the book better, it provoked the same thoughts I had when I was reading the masterpiece by one of my heroes, Jon Krakauer.
I think everyone, ultimately, wants to be free of the shackles of this world. The quest for money, the drive for nice things, the need for comfort. Security, many times, means the cash to make us feel safe rather than love, protection or faith in who we are.
One of the big reasons I visit the peaks so many times every summer is because every trip whittles the goal down to a very basic sense of struggle and survival. You are hungry, so you eat. You are cold, so you throw on another layer. You are tired, but you push on, until you reach your goal, and then you feel so good about pushing through the elements and your own exhaustion to achieve such a simple yet worthwhile goal. I run for the very same reasons.
This is why being a parent of the youngsters I have, and to the degree that I have them, continues to challenge me more mentally than physically. There's no endgame. There's no standing on the peak. But there is plenty of exhaustion. There is frustration. There is always a struggle.
Today the plumber came and stung us with a $175 bill because Jayden yesterday dropped plastic forks down the drain and jammed up the garbage disposal. I suppose it could have been much worse. But that's not what I needed today after he had a good half-hour meltdown as thanks for taking him to see baby farm animals and then driving him to a park to see herons and egrets nesting in the trees. The meltdown was because I refused to take him to a playground.
The real reason for the meltdown, though, was not a plastic slide. It was that exhaustion gets to Jayden, too, and so does hunger. I often wonder how hard having the twins is on him. I think more than we realize since he's such a good big brother. I forget to credit him for that.
I finally got some food down him after a lot of talk and, I'm sorry to say, a little yelling. The meltdowns chip at my sanity, and I can only take so much.
Then again, after the fourth time I put him down for his much-needed nap, he looked at me and said "Iluvudaddy." He wasn't answering me. He was telling me something from his heart.
I still desire my freedom from the boundaries that life and, mostly, my kids chain to me every day. Yet I also give into them, willingly and without regret.
The tough part about being a parent is there is no summit. But that's also what makes it worth it.