By Blake Friis
Snowshoeing up a Colorado mountain was just as miserable as I believed it would be when my wife suggested it. Hundreds of people having the time of their lives flew downhill, many taking the time to inform us we were going the wrong way.
I was making the best of a “ski” trip with my wife, who had been pregnant for six months and had non-refundable tickets in her possession for seven, so I laughed and nodded instead of telling each unoriginal yuppie to eat shit and die.
A vacation planned on the strength of skiing, alcohol, and hot tubbing is substantially marginalized when one of the participants becomes pregnant, but we made the best of it and managed to enjoy ourselves. We looked ahead to the following year and thought the trip would serve as a nice getaway during our first year of parenthood.
Our friends made the annual trip to Steamboat this week. Our participation was limited to “Liking” their pictures on Facebook.
As parents, we love to go on about the greatness of parenthood – the journey, the joy, the legacy. Less common are discussions on the cost of parenthood. The cost of this miracle is freedom. At the very least, freedom is a relative term with children.
Every single day I look at my son and can’t believe he’s mine, but there are days I also think it would be nice take my wife out to dinner without having to pack a diaper bag. We no longer have the luxury of going to a movie on a random Tuesday night or eating at a restaurant where it's frowned upon to leave a wake of crackers and cheerios on the floor by your table.
No recreational activity or extra hour of sleep on the weekend can match the wonder of an average day with my son, but there are moments when even the most engaged father longs for the freedom to strap clunky snowshoes to his feet and trudge his fat ass up a mountain to the amusement of wealthy skiers and their turtlenecks.
As our friends were skiing we realized something amazing; every day with our 9 month-old has a vacation-like quality. Watching my son meticulously pull everything out of his toy box until he finds his green maraca has become our mountain sunset. Chasing him from room to room has become our snowshoeing. Thank God.
There are times I miss certain elements of life before parenthood, and I don’t think there is any shame in admitting it. We don’t have the freedom to take off on a whim, whether it’s for sushi on a Wednesday or a weekend out of town. We haven’t been to a concert or movie since Gabe was born.
What we have done is much more fulfilling.
The Dark Knight Rises would have been better on IMAX than on our television, but we couldn’t get to the theater. On the other hand, no form of entertainment could possibly match the freedom to spend an afternoon helping Gabe get the hang of the Batman cart he got for Christmas.
Freedom is a relative term. So is Luck. We have sacrificed a lot of freedom over the last nine months. I have no idea how we got so lucky.