When I was a kid, I always thought it was so fun to watch Married with Children. It revolves around Al Bundy and his never ending attempts to better his life which leads him right back to where he started. In front of the T.V, with his hand down his pants. Van dwelling with children was a similar to this.
Before we left, Ike and I had plans to do some awesome hiking, even a muli day trek or two. We decided to go into Canada for that reason, we figured the weather would be cooler and more hospitable for hiking (versus Colodo, Utah, California in the middle of summer)
Gavin in Banff National Park
This is the point in the story where I introduce you to my son Gavin. He is a 85 lb, blue eyed blond haired hell on wheels. Urban dictionary describes the term hell on wheels as a someone or something that is tough, aggressive and hard to handle. If there could be a picture to go along with this term, it would be my 9 year old son. Gavin loves anything physical. He loves building forts, jumping off high things, swimming ect. We thought he would love being outside with us.
Here is a scenario from day 1 hour 2. About 2 hours into our journey, we made the inevitable pit stop. At this rest stop, there was a short hike to the top of a look out. Ike and I looked at eachother, and said ‘hey, why not?’
Gavin looked at us and said “I’m not going.”
Of course, we kind of shrugged it off. We were going on this adventure. We were going to the Canadian Rockies! Banff and Jasper, the most beautiful places in the whole world! Gavin would adjust! We just knew it! We.were.so.wrong.
Every Day After That
Here is when I explain the Married with Children analogy. No matter the circumstances, we always ended up right back in the same spot. Gavin refusing to hike. We go through this every day. He would either start to hike, then 5 minutes in complain that he couldn’t go a step further, or he would refuse to hike.
One time, we were hiking up a trail and he was complaining. Another family walked up behind us and passed us. Gavin promptly stopped being upset and started talking to this other family. Before we knew it, he was gone- happily hiking with his new befriended family. We knew then that it wasn’ t the hiking that he did not like , he didn’t like it because we liked it.
Ike and Gavin enjoying hot chocolate
Hands in Our Pants
We really had no idea what to do with our hell on wheels. To everyone else, we must have looked like the worst parents ever. Or maybe not, maybe I just felt like the worst parent ever. Leaving him sitting on a rock, crying on the side of a trail. See, it sounds bad- right? Poor little guy. This is what would happen once we left him: He would stop crying after we were out of sight and figure out a way to shimmy up the side of a mountain and get to the top before we did. The kid is completely capable, it was just the fact that we wanted to do something. So, he automatically did not.
Gavin has more physical capability then I ever will
Van Dwelling with Children – What Worked
At some point in our journey, we gave up our souls to Gavin. Just kidding, but not really. Our daily living was complicated, it took a lot of time. Even the simplest tasks were difficult- and that was o.k, but it just wore down on us after awhile. So, we gave up trying to hike with Gavin. We stayed closer to roads, and enjoyed the mountains from a distance. We ate more ice cream and went swimming as much as possible.
Exploring at our own pace
Maybe settling for more ice cream and more swimming wasn’t so bad. Maybe we weren’t on the journey to climb mountains, some mountains are internal- and those ones are just as difficult as any. We decided that singing silly songs and dancing silly dances was o.k. Taking time – making forts, those things are just as important as anything else.
I wasn’t going to get the awesome photographs I wanted – but I got to experience something totally unique and justifiably crazy with my family- and that is o.k too!
https://stephshanks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/IMG_1923-e1509664349431.jpg9601280stephwp16https://stephshanks.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/as-small-as-can-be.jpgstephwp162017-11-02 23:26:442017-11-02 23:30:26Van Dwelling with Children