The One Thing I Hope My Dad's Cancer Teaches My Son
We were buzzing around in a dingy around Deer Harbor when ODP decided he was DONE-zo. He was crying big, salty tears, clearly afraid of being in a little boat, and probably a little cold and not into the wind (as his mommy tends to be). I squeezed him close to me in his puffy lifejacket, looked right into his eyes and started singing. He stared right back, a little sad, but quiet, watching. It was in that moment that I knew, even if he was scared and borderline miserable, that we were deeply connected and that wherever our adventures would take us, he knows he can trust me.
We're in a place as a little family where I can see him watching us and taking it all in. When he looks at me, he REALLY looks at me. He always has, but every day it feels bigger because I know that he's absorbing so much and learning a ton.
The fact that he trusts us to take him new places—that he will quite literally wake up somewhere different—and that he embraces *most* new experiences makes my heart swell, because we are determined to show him as much of the world as we can. We want him to see enough to make his own decisions about how and where he wants to live his life. And, what he may not realize now, he's learning about the world at least partially because of my dad.
I made a decision a long time ago to really try to LIVE, to follow my gut and trust that it's leading me in the right directions. When it comes to ODP, I've brought the same philosophy. We try not to push him too hard—we fit fun around naps as much as we can—but my goal is to instill in him a curiosity about the world around him, a genuine sense that we get one shot at all of this living we want to do and if you really want to do and see things, you can figure out how to make it happen. In his future, I plan to make a game of it for him: we tell him how many days we have, what our budget is, whether we want to take a boat or a car or a plane, and let him present US with the options.
I've always wanted to go places, but, now, with him? I want to go everywhere!
Would I rather have my dad here instead of this slightly morbid sense of seeing all the things and showing my baby the world? Absolutely. But if there are any good things that come out of cancer, a deeper sense of adventure NOW is one of them.