A Child’s Birthday Gift to Dad

Wisdom Comes in Many Forms…and Sizes

Another candle on the cake. Another reminder that, in theory, at least, with age comes wisdom. So, I keep telling myself. But then, a child’s birthday gift to dad will remind you wisdom often comes from unlikely sources and that I may have been looking in all the wrong places for some time now.

I say this, because, until earlier this week, if you’d have asked me, I’d have said my hard earned knowledge of the past year would’ve essentially boiled down to lessons from the past two and a half months. Lessons from the road here in South America.

Lessons such as:

  • The importance of doing your best to maintain your child’s schedule even when on someone else’s…
  • How not to look like a kidnapper when dealing with an irate three year old in a crowded public place…
  • What to look for in accommodation when booking with a child on AirBnB
  • What sort of questions to ask potential work exchange hosts before deciding to undertake a 15 hour bus ride.

Those sorts of insightful practicalities.

But then, one day, in the process of making the often painfully slow walk to our work site here in northern Argentina, Kaia did the unexpected. She gave me my birthday present a week early.http://journeyswithkaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/20160528_191716.jpg

We’d been running the gauntlet in a neighbourhood where the pre requisite criteria for home ownership, apparently is owning five or more dogs. That said, it was loud as we made our way to the giant dirt pile that is our host’s intended, eventually to be completed Eco House of some description.

Kaia held my hand but hardly flinched as various neighbourhood dogs darted to and fro in close proximity all around us. Considering before we departed Australia the mere sight of even a well-mannered neighbor’s dog would send Kaia into full panic mode, I couldn’t help but comment on how far she’d come in such a short time. An effort on my part that elicited little more than a steady stare straight ahead.

“You do remember Forrest, Lieutenant and Reef from Australia, don’t you?” I added, attempting to prompt her with three names of neighbourhood dogs from home.

Still nothing.

Which left me to start rattling off a few names, our pool, walks to the beach, before adding, “You do remember our place back home, don’t you?”

I wasn’t prepared for what came next.

“Marzio’s house!” came Kaia’s rather surprising response; referring to the gregarious and easy going host whose place we’d been staying for the past two weeks. They were but two words, but two words that, opened my eyes ever so slightly and seemed to speak volumes about the mind of a child.

Because, truth be told, before setting out, we had spent a lot of time wondering about how Kaia would fair once our journey began to unfold.

Maybe too much time.

But when all was said and done, despite the different foods, meal times, milk, sleep schedules, nicks, scrapes, insect bites, faces, places and languages…

Kaia, apparently, was all about living in the moment. And something told me it was a trait shared by most children.

It was a powerful and timely reminder since, over the past three months I’d be lying if I didn’t say both mommy and daddy haven’t fallen prey to keeping our eyes a little too squarely focused on the horizon.

It’s an easy tendency to be susceptible to; especially early on in a trip that offers such a seemingly endless array of possibilities as South America.  And with 9 months (or more) still looming straight ahead and the realization our present Workaway stint was close to having run its full course, the urge to pull up stakes and strike out again was growing louder with each passing day.

Our options were beginning to get the best of us. At least until Kaia’s two word sermon…

They were two words that cut through the din of endless logistical ‘what ifs’ and barking insanity and set the record straight. Two words that suggested as long as we were together, we were home.

And the rest, for better or for worse, is mere details.










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