Blog Entry date, July something, 2020 – year of the Quarantine…
A little more than two years ago Pat and I had one of those marriage “AH HA!” moments, a turning point that would change every aspect of our happy little Magnolia Parker lives.
What more could we want? We’re both educated, employed home-owners, with the whole two cars, picket fence life living the American Dream in a house full of 5 healthy children. What more could we possibly achieve?
Well, honestly, it was all a bit too much. With the house comes the mortgage and utility bills, lawn care and upkeep. With the family comes extra-curricular everything – piano, Scouts, theatre, martial arts, soccer, swim team, dance, and on and on and on. The never-ending “rat race” to “keep up with the Joneses” and provide the best possible environment for our children.
We love our family, don’t get me wrong! There was just a seed of discontent, a growing regret in the back of Pat’s mind – was this really what God had planned for his life? Could there be more?
That brought us to the Exit Strategy – the family compromise that would still provide the stability and homelife for our kids for now, but would also create a new chapter that would scratch that itch to travel, see more, do more, go places!
The Roaming Parkers were “born.” We have purged our house, downsized everything, dedicated a set time for community service (which has come to an end) and now we’re getting the house ready for the real estate market. Pat may begin applying for US Park Ranger jobs any day now (but it can take a year or more to get the right one, so we’re still a work-in-progress).
In the meantime, we continue to build a Roaming Parker foundation that promotes adventure travel, conservation, and exciting food. We have started collaborating on a book deal, and we are sharpening our focus on what life after Magnolia will be.
We’ve started shopping for The Airstream.
And weekends are spent outside – no masks are mandated for the woods. Often we are the only people around, and we love it. We have definitely gotten our money’s worth out of our little kayak, and my fishing gear has become a permanent resident in the back of my SUV – right next to the basket of bathing suits, sunscreen, goggles and towels.
If anything, the whole Covid-19 pandemic has given us free time to prep the house, purge more stuff, and complete activities that promote our endeavors for when we leave. There are a few new considerations that I didn’t plan for, but I am ultimately flexible in the Exit Strategy grand scheme of things, so I am confident it will all work out.
That brings me to my topic of today: Daughter Nature.
Cady, the caboose of our family, “my armpit” baby and constant companion traveled with us this past weekend on an outing to Clear Springs and Lake Okhissa. Generally Pat and I sped weekends in the woods or water alone, because the kids require more stuff and more effort. Cady is the exception. She was so much fun to have around, she truly loves outdoor adventures.
She dubbed herself “Daughter Nature” while exploring a little creek beside our campsite. She didn’t squeal and run when we crossed paths with new critters – the banana spider, pack of grand-daddy longlegs, the raccoon on our picnic table, the fence lizard. She shared a one-man tent with me with no complaint and she loves hiking with Pat. I am confident she’ll learn to love fishing when the weather cools and bugs don’t bite!
Maybe we can work on her goals – she wants to be a YouTuber when she grows up. Yep, Daughter Nature, I hear ya.