A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
I’ve been reading a lot lately about bucket lists — lists of things that you want to do before you kick the bucket. Seems like different people have different thoughts about them, running all the way from “Yay! Somebody give me a checklist!” to “Ugh! How bourgeois.” I think I fall somewhere in the middle. Yeah, it’s a little trendy right now, and it’s pretty unlikely that making a list is really going to help you to live your life to the fullest. But I like the idea of having goals, and even more importantly, I reallyreallyreally like to make lists.
I don’t want to make a regular bucket list, though. Making a list of all the things that I want to do before I die seems pretty intimidating — after all, it would be about fifty gazillion items long and would include complete nonsense like, “Fly like Peter Pan”, “Tame a unicorn”, and “Fit into those jeans from college”. So I’m going to make my list a bit more limited. At least for right now, I’ll keep it to ten (realistic) things that I want to do with Sausage before he grows up and no longer wants to do things with me.
In no particular order:
1. Go to a petting zoo. I remember how simultaneously exciting and terrifying a petting zoo could be when I was little. I remember being warned that “Geese can be nasty” while having a handful of seeds for them thrust into my little hands. I want Sausage to have the tactile memory of a goat licking between his fingers.
2. Go puddle stomping. There is no joy quite like getting soaked from jumping in puddles during a summer rain. The times when you don’t worry about your clothes, wear ratty old sneakers, and go out there and see who can make the biggest splash. I think that’s one of the greatest joys of childhood. And I honestly wouldn’t say no to a good puddle stompin’ session even now.
3. Go tent camping. Complete with a campfire (Loving Husband can light a fire with one match and no lighter fluid — it’s one of his many skills), one-pot meals seasoned with dirt, and s’mores. I draw the line at peeing behind a tree, though — I’ve done it, it sucks, and I have nothing to prove, dammit. I’ll leave that experience to Sausage and his Daddy.
4. Visit caverns. I did this as a kid, and again as an adult, and it just never stops being cool. I don’t care how touristy it is, it’s still awesome to go down into a hole and see amazing rock formations. And then when they turn out the lights? Yes.
5. Teach him to dance. I don’t mean ballroom dancing, although if he’s into it I’ll gladly teach Sausage a bit of swing. I mean that I want to teach him to appreciate moving his body, and not to be afraid of it, the way so many sad-sack white dudes are.
6. Go up in a hot air balloon. Okay, this one is also for me. I’ve never been, and I want to go. Having Sausage along would be my excuse.
7. Eat bugs. I just hope my kid is adventuresome enough to put a chocolate covered cricket in his mouth. I’m not going to encourage him to eat what he finds in the backyard, though. Gourmet insects only.
8. Read all the Harry Potter books aloud. Loving Husband and I did this before Sausage came along, and it was great. We’d do a chapter or two before bed every night. It seems like a pretty terrific thing to do as a family. After that, if it sticks, we can move on to other books. “A Tale Of Two Cities”, maybe?
9. Bake things. My little brother and I used to sit in front of the oven and watch cookies rise. We were boring children. But still, an awful lot of family memories seem to be tied up in the making and eating of cookies, and pies, and cakes, and … crap, now I’m hungry.
10. Discover his most deeply held wish, and make it happen. Obviously, we can’t afford to fulfill every one of Sausage’s dreams, and we don’t want him to grow up expecting everyone to bend over backwards to make his wishes come to fruition. But if we find that he loves horses more than anything? We can manage horseback riding lessons. He wants to be an astronaut, and he can’t get his head out of the stars? Space camp could be a possibility. He loves movies? A trip to Universal Studios, maybe. I want him to have one shining memory of getting EXACTLY what he wanted — one time when he felt that all his dreams were coming true. Because what is childhood without the conviction that your dreams can come true?
What are some of the wonderful things you’ve done or intend to do with your kids? I’d love to hear your ideas! (No, really. Please comment? I’ll love you forever!)