Dad, Where Are We?

You can’t learn before you set out, can you? You go along the road, and you learn as you go. – P.L. Travers

I love a Table of Contents. Whether it’s brand new or something I’ve read before, most every time I pick up a book I like to check its list of chapter titles. Sometimes I do it so I can learn something about the book, while other times I just like to see how many pages I’m in for! Either way, that Table of Contents does my brain good. It’s a key of sorts, a treasure map to get me on track and it often can help to clear a little path through a big forest of words.

And that is what I thought about when I captured this photo on our family’s hike through the woods last weekend:

Valentine Bigfoot Hike February 14, 2014

I’m not sure that you can really see it, but the brambles and thorny vines and ragged stones that envelop this particular area are especially arduous to navigate. Our littlest one is also just the right height to get swatted in the face by a stray branch. It also grows rather dark under the dense tree canopy here, even on the sunniest of days.  I can’t tell you how many times we had to turn back and detour around an obstacle while we were out there that day. At one point, we weren’t even completely certain which way was which. It was then that the girls would stop exploring and move closer to us and say, “Dad, where are we?” or “Dad, which way now?”  In other words, no Table of Contents.

It all makes me think just how much a hike with your family resembles life with your family. Sure there are sunny days and laughter and plenty of fun in the adventure of it, but there are also the thorns and the rocks and the brambles and the questions. Sometimes, we can answer their questions…and sometimes we can’t.  In other words, no Table of Contents.

The saving grace, though, comes in experiencing the hike – and life – together.  I’m certain of it.  Even the hard times have a silver lining when your family has your back.  There is simply nothing like it, not even a Table of Contents.

P.S.  There are two books about being a dad that have transformed my thinking and acting on the subject.  They are The Father Connection by Josh McDowell and These Things I Wish for You by Christopher Kimball.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. – Izaak Walton

‘The Mountain Part 2’ – Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico

*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. The backstory can be found here. Enjoy!

Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, blue crayons, popcorn…and Spider-man comic books; but he still did not like to stop and wait. Here is PART TWO of his story (click here for part one):

Stuck as stuck could be – that’s what Baby Frederico had become when he slipped and fell down into a hole while he was climbing up a mountain with his family, whom he had refused to stop and wait for because they were soooooooo slow.

And now, here he was; stuck as stu—-wait. What was that sound? It reminded him of something familiar, but he couldn’t place it. It was also growing louder and seemed to be moving closer to him. He decided to stop and wait and listen – which was all he could do anyway – and see what might happen next.

Suddenly, pebbles began to roll down into the hole. This could only mean one thing. Someone or something, along with that strangely familiar sound, was nearby.

“Hi there,” a friendly and high-pitched voice called out from above. “Why are you down there?”

Baby Frederico was surprised…but there was something he liked about this voice and said, “I slid down here and now I’m stuck as stuck can be.”

“Wow! I love to slide! Here I come,” said the excited voice. And before Baby Frederico could say, “Stop! Don’t do it or we’ll both be stuck down here,” a beautifully green and brown grasshopper slid right down into the hole with him…and she was laughing all the way!

“Why are you laughing? Now we’re both stuck,” said Baby Frederico with his most frustrated voice. “We’ll never get out of here.”

“Don’t worry my little long-tailed friend. I’m a grasshopper and I can get us out of here with just one hop! For my name is Grenelda and hopping is my game,” she said dramatically as she began to laugh again. “Grab on and we’ll be out of here in less time than it takes to play a quarter note on Dizzy Gillespie’s trumpet!”

Baby Frederico was confused and interested, all at the same time, so he took her by the arm and, with the quickest jump you’ve ever seen, the two were out of that hole in no time at all.

Baby Frederico’s family was just coming around the bend in the path below him and they were surprised to see him and his new friend springing right up in front of them! With concern in his voice, Papa said, “Baby Frederico, where have you been?”

Baby Frederico was ashamed to admit that he had been mad at them for being so slow. “Well papá, it is a long story and I’m sorry I ran off. I’ll explain it all to you as we finish climbing this mountain…together.”

Papá Frita smiled; Mama Mia let out a sigh of relief; and Baby Frederico’s grandparents sat down to rest. The entire Frederico Family would indeed make it to the top of the mountain, more certain than ever that they would make it to the top together. Baby Frederico also learned something that surprised him most of all – stopping and waiting can lead to a whole new adventure…and maybe even a brand new friend.

Which reminded him! Baby Frederico was so glad to be back with his family and out of danger that he nearly forgot to introduce everyone to Grenelda the Grasshopper. But when he looked around, she was gone. He wondered if she had hopped so hard to get them out of the hole that she might have hopped right out into space. If that was the case, he was glad he let go!

Still, he couldn’t help but wonder – where did she go and what was that strange, happy music that he could already hear again coming from somewhere down the mountain?

BF Mountain 1