That’s the call that rings out in the car when my husband and I set out to do something new and exciting.
The call rings out on our three-hour drive to Mount Monadnock, where we’ll climb to the rocky top and catch the gorgeous view of lush New Hampshire in all its glory.
We shout it with giddy enthusiasm when we pile into my Mazda, bound for our honeymoon in the Smoky Mountains, where we spend a week in a log cabin perched on the side of a mountain, hiking next to the clearest streams I’ve ever seen, exploring trails and waterfalls and stopping once to let a mama bear and her cubs cross the road; and another week meandering our way home on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with its simple beauty and infinite excuses to pull over and enjoy the view.
We holler it into the stunning deafness of the heaps of snow that bury my husband’s car outside our old apartment, as we leap off of the piled-up snow banks the plows have made, as if we’re kids on an unexpected day off from school (which is exactly what it feels like).
It’s our battle cry when we take a detour on the way home from a wedding in Pennsylvania, because we saw a sign that intrigued us. We found ourselves in the most magical gardens, sitting on giant rocks atop a waterfall. Later, we ended up driving through the city just as the Fourth of July fireworks lit up the night.
The car is nervously silent when we bring our daughter home from the hospital, me sitting in the back next to her, in awe that we were on our way to integrating this new life into our own.
There is no enthusiastic hollering when we decide I won’t return to my job, and instead will try the freelance life.
No one is shouting “adventure!” gleefully each day as we try to become the parents we want to be, and raise our kids to be their best selves.
I didn’t let loose that familiar battle cry when I set out to remember who I was before motherhood, and before I was the “me” I had decided I was somewhere along the way.
Marriage, motherhood and entrepreneurship often lack the sparkle of hidden gardens and trees so tall you stand in awe of your smallness. They’re not as romantic as star-filled nights and hawks swooping across the sky.
Still, they hold all the things great adventures are made of: Uncertainty. Risk. Excitement. Maybe even a little bit of danger. The chance of great gain; the chance of ruin.
Just like the adventures we had pre-kids, our new adventures have another common element, one that all great adventures must have: magic.
There is magic in reaching the top of a mountain, as the trees fall away and the terrain becomes rocky and the breeze becomes a strong wind and you become aware of your smallness. There is also magic in those first steps your child takes, the first time they say “I love you”. There is magic in the first client, the first course you sell, the first time you realize that you’ve done it, that you’re making it happen.
There’s magic in the fact that it’s even possible, that the adventurous women who have come before us have blazed a trail that makes it possible for us to balance motherhood and work in this brave new way. There’s magic in the women that surround us now, who support and encourage and lift us up, up, up.
This isn’t the kind of adventure that I imagined 10 years ago. It’s also not the only kind of adventure I dream of having 10 years from now. I crave that other kind, the kind where you watch the sun rise in a different part of the world, the kind where you make decisions by the seat of your pants and end up with a story you’ll tell for years to come.
It may never be the type of thing to elicit that familiar invocation. Piling into the minivan as a family of four, laden with diapers and wipes and sippy cups just isn’t the same as the two of us hopping into that old Mazda. But it’s the new adventure. It’s adventure, redefined for now.
There is a common thread. In all of these adventures, old and new, I find the most magic in stepping off the beaten path. Taking the scenic route. Exploring what’s possible.
When I think of it that way, it all feels like an adventure, even the mundane days. Amidst it all, my work has helped sustain us, twisting and turning and building momentum. We’re defining and refining our dreams, and finding a new kind of faith in them. We’ve created life, and we nurture those lives each day, with our hearts wide open.
That’s adventure. Redefined. For now.
MotherHustle panelist Stacy Firth is a writer and content strategist who helps moms who are small business owners and solopreneurs create online content that keeps it real. She also leads workshops that help mamas lead a lit-up life, and is mama to two. You can find her on her website or on Instagram at @stacyrfirth.
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