As it turns out, Eli is a tiny explorer.
This should not suprise anyone. After all, Mel and I are both super ADD, and we’ve spent a lot of time (both before and after we got married and had a kid) exploring the great outdoors. I guess you could say he got the outdoors bug honestly.
It is refreshing to see him discover it all for the first time. On a recent hike, we found a beetle the other day, trucking along through the undergrowth. Eli hunkered right down, and followed it through the leaves.
Daddy: “No, beetle.”
Daddy: “Yes, beetle.”
And just like that, we now know what beetles are, and what to call them, and that they are different from spiders. Schemata in construction before my eyes.
And we have discovered puddles. Puddles which jump and splash everywhere when you charge into them at a run, and then spread in concentric ever-expanding circles when you stop suddenly in the middle. Puddles which leave your shoes sodden and muddy, but leave you feeling happy just from the sheer messiness of it all. He takes such intense joy from running back and forth through a puddle; I remember I could do it for hours once too.
On a recent hike, I saw the beginnings of a life-long love for green spaces; it made me happy. We took a family inner-city hike on the Buttermilk Trail, a multi-use trail which runs along the south bank of the James River. Eli insisted on leading us, and set a rapid pace. I had to almost jog to keep up as he trotted up the trail, his gleeful squeals of “A hike! A hike!” floating behind him. We had fun; we got sweaty, learned about moving off the trail for the mountain bikers, and brushed up against so much poison ivy that we made a special trip to the edge of the river to wash off (I’m happy to report that nobody got poison ivy).
He may not every know what its like to be rich; in fact, I’d say his chances of that are about nil considering the callings that Mel and I have accepted (both in the bottom 4 on the list of lowest paid adult careers, if recent information is to be believed). He probably won’t have his own car when he’s 16, and I’m not even sure he can count on ever seeing Disney Land (heck, I never have). But at least he can be assured of lots of adventure outdoors. And really, in my book, I think that’s better than all that other crap anyway.