Sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting to catch a connecting flight to Springfield for work, I cannot stop thinking that my girlfriend, Allie, and I are expecting to be parents in 9 days. 9 Days.
Among all the thoughts and ideas spinning in my head, there is one that keeps standing out. Last weekend Allie and I went on a “babymoon.” We decided to act on a spur of the moment idea and drive down to Charleston from Johnson City. We got a cheap motel for Saturday night and hit the road.
On the way back home on Sunday we stopped in Asheville for dinner. Walking out of the restaurant, Allie grabbed a local outdoors magazine. She was especially drawn to it because the cover story featured “New Adventure Families.” We’re adventurous, we’re soon to be a “full” family. It was a great concept we could relate to. What brought Allie and I together was our love of the outdoors, adventure, & travel. All things we want our soon to arrive daughter to love and have an appreciation for. Allie read the article quietly in the passenger seat while I maintained homeward course. “Well that's not really relatable.” She exclaimed a few minutes later. The families in this article were not all that average. One of these "adventure" families consisted of a mother & father who were both runners & USA athletes. The other family owned a gym that did not require their attention full time. Both families shared a common issue, however: mom & dad were struggling to find a balance between training, personal aspirations, & home life while "adventuring" as a family. If they're having these sorts of issues, do we even stand a chance?
The easy point to attack here would be: “well they don't even have ‘real’ jobs, they have no right to complain.” I guess the problem we had is that these were the faces and models of what an “adventure family” should be.
Allie and I both are still trying to dissect the definitions of our new titles “mom & dad” and what they mean. More importantly, what we want them to mean. After all, I went from being a full time bike/ski bum and Allie, a Nomad with a cause, in the matter of an instant. When we learned Allie was pregnant there was really no fiscally possible way we could have our child in the Tetons. The place we loved, that brought us together, the place we both considered home. It was impossible for us to remain there without health insurance.
Allie’s native Johnson City has since become our home because her, and the baby will have insurance here. Our lease on our home is up in December and we are trying more than anything to get back West. We want our daughter to grow up in the mountains, something we both longed for in our own childhoods. Even with a college degree & 7 years experience in the Outdoor Industry this is proving to be quite the challenge.
Life has been hectic since relocating, to say the least. We have become full fledged weekend warriors. I get the same satisfaction riding my bike for an hour as I did riding lifts all day out West. Fishing for a little while in the backyard brings about the same excitement as floating the Teton on a summers afternoon. At least it seems that way while it's happening. At this point, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad. Allie has been obviously more affected by her pregnant state. It's been months since she's been able to trail run, and hiking has been reduced to a mile or two at most. This brings me to a confusing crossroads. Can I still have this kind of fun even though she is unable to? Of course, she tells me to go ride longer, fish more, & continue to do what I love. But I still feel guilty. I want her to be right there with me, like always.
Neither of us are still really sure where, how, or if we even fit into the definition of an "adventure" family at all. Our daughters due date is the 23rd of April and above all else we are focusing on that, but hidden behind every parenting bids this recurring question:
"How/are things ever going to be normal again? How do we get back out West?"