Becoming A Father – Heads We Breed/Tails We Don’t

Becoming a Father. It’s been on my mind lately. So much to think about.

Orion in Troll Cave
Orion in a Troll Cave in Iceland (Click for full story)

It was an accident, the best kind of accident you could ever imagine happening. There was no broken glass, smashed metal and blood, only an overwhelming feeling of joy. When Marlo told me she was pregnant we never even had a conversation about terminating the pregnancy. Broken condoms were a pretty common occurrence in those days, and those betting odds finally caught up with us. When she told me she was pregnant it changed my life, but I could never have conceived how much his birth would change the very core of who I was.

I remember the day Orion was born vividly, it was the happiest day of my life. I had witnessed his growth in Marlo’s belly for months, but the reality never set it till the day he emerged. How could it? My old life was about to disappear and a new one would grow in its wake.

Things with Marlo had been on the rocks for a while, but when the day finally came we grew closer than we had ever been before. She needed love and support and I needed so much to give it to her. Our midwife Kate was amazing and she allowed me to catch Orion first when he came out of the womb. I remember when his head first stuck out how surprised I was, you expect the baby to come, but nothing can really prepare you for the emotions you go through when he finally arrives. This little creature that was the better half of me and the better half of Marlo changed my life more dramatically than anyone else ever could.

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Iceland II: The Revenge Of Ring Road

“Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation” ― Khalil GibranThe Prophet

Our trip to Iceland started out in the worst sort of way.  There was a lot of drama around my separation with my Ex-girlfriend.  She was supposed to go to Iceland with Orion and I, but the plane ticket I bought for her ended up going to waste.  I talked to Orion’s mom about all the trouble with my Ex-girlfriend and she still trusted me enough to go with Orion to Iceland. To call her a saint would be an understatement. I feel so blessed to have so many people who love me and trust me more than I trust myself at times.

We drove to JFK and I knew things were going to be rough when Orion threw up in the parking lot.  He threw up 3 more times on the plane, the woman sitting next to us in my Ex’s seat was very pleasant about the whole thing.  I couldn’t help wishing that she was with us, her backing out on the Iceland trip was really hard on me. I knew that I would have to find a way to deal with it as soon as possible, otherwise it would do nothing but interfere with Orion and I having a good time together. There was serious rifts that had come between Orion and I between his struggles in public school. No matter what came I knew I had to be focused and present for him throughout the entire trip, whatever sacrifices that meant that I would have to make for myself.

Soaking up the sights. The first in our ‘Puking all over Iceland’ series

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Kiteboarding, Hydrofoiling & Kayaking In The Magdalene Islands, The Secret French-Canadian Paradise

Orion and I have discovered a French Canadian paradise a mere 25 hours north of here. For 2 weeks we spent every day playing on the beach and having amazing adventures all over the island. We discovered an abandoned cargo ship, an island full of nesting baby birds, as well as countless caves all over the island.

The ghost ship
The ghost ship

We drove 10 hours to Acadia in Maine and had awesome Wild blueberry pancakes and my yearly lobster omelette at Jordans. Afterwards we hiked the Beehive trail (Precipice was closed) and then hung out on the beach for several hours. There was a baby seal that had climbed out to sun itself that was so adorable. I so wanted to club it, doesn’t everyone fantasize about clubbing baby seals? After chilling on the beach for several hours we setup and played a boardgame next to all my spraypaint art and I managed to sell several pieces.

We headed out to Canada and drove another 10 hours to the ferry. I setup my artwork on the ferry to sell, but the captain of the ship didn’t have such a good sense of humor about that. The ferry was huge, like a cruiseliner with 5 decks and a movie theater, arcade, cafeteria, bar and restaurant. The kids loved running around and playing hide and seek on the ship, and they had 5.5 hrs to do it. The ferry was insanely expensive, I paid $200 each way and Norman with his schoolbus paid almost $500 each way. We made arrangements to arrive a day early for a huge party. The first night was a huge party where almost everyone on the island attended. There was some fantastic Quebecian music that I loved dancing like a crazy person to. Everyone was super friendly, although many of the people I talked to who lived on the island spoke no English at all.

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Headed On Down To New Orleans With A Bike, Inflatable Kayak And Fun On The Mind.

Whenever I go on long trips I have so much time to THINK while driving. It’s amazing how words wind themselves around my mind and I think and think and think about what to write, how to make my adventures interesting, worth reading, engaging for others. I love that feeling of thinking about what I want to say before I say it, and the act of creation, when I write or draw it is the closest thing to sheer bliss I think I will find on this crazy planet.

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The overwhelming feeling I had on this latest 2 week-long road trip adventure with Orion was one of Joy. I spent a lot of time remembering when I was young, going to school, keeping my head down, burying myself into books. Most of the time I spent intimidated, afraid, mostly of my peers, my teachers, my principle or my parents. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever imagine that I would grow up and would be able to find and hold onto happiness. Through a brutal exercise regime and by avoiding sugars, meat, drugs and alcohol I have been able to find a lot of joy in this life. When I am on these trips with Orion we both spend most of the trip totally giddy. Orion is the best travel partner I have ever found. Although at night in bed he is all-elbows and knees every other aspect of my traveling experiences with him is just amazing.

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If Only You Knew How Good The Wild Blueberries Were On Top Of Acadia National Park In Maine

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On the way UP

Orion and I had been planning on going to Acadia for the last 2 years and the time was finally right to take a week off and go. It was a fantastic trip filled with epic bike journeys to the top of mountains as well as several very difficult non-technical climbs that Orion did amazingly well on. The food in Maine was fantastic and we managed to have a great time despite the intense level of overcrowding that traveling to Maine in the peak of tourist season can bring.

The first day we spent 7 hours in the Boston Museum of science. There were some fantastic exhibits on Critter cams and Black holes as well as lots of other exhibits that Orion loved checking out. There was a robotic dog called Ibo and a touchscreen whiteboard where Orion showed off his Scratch programming skills by making an Octopus which consumed everyone else’s fish when it touched them then grew to take over the screen.

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Wintertime Got You Down? Drive As Far South As You Can Before You Hit The Ocean.

Coming home from a great trip always makes me feel more than just a little bipolar. While traveling I am so incredibly happy and centered and when I return back home to my comfortable house with the nice heat and fuzzy bed I am so completely and utterly miserable. Looking over the photos from this 2 week trip in the winter of 2008 with Orion filled me with memories of excitement and wonder, he travels so much better than any child I have ever met. I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to spend this time with him as he grows up.

The first day we went to Smithsonian Museum of American History in DC. There was a hands-on exhibit with Elie Whitney’s cotton gin, and another really great exhibit on inventions that I really enjoyed. The next day we drove to Charleston, SC which had an excellent aquarium there. We went on a behind the scenes to see the Sea Turtle hospital. Had a couple of giant
300lb Loggerheads and some smaller green turtles. We also took a trip to historic Fort Sumter which was a National Monument. It was insanely windy, on the boat on the 2nd story it was hard to stand up. Orion got a Jr. Ranger program completed, I made him do all of it for his homeschooling. It was pretty cool being at the place where the civil war started.

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If My Sister Really Loved Me, She Would Have Never Tickle Tortured Me As A Child…

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After 3 weeks on the road my return home is hard. Everything has its place, everything is organized and there is stress around that need for organization. I was so much happier sleeping in my van on the side of the road near abandoned diners and in rest areas along the freeway. I forgot how hard it was to live in one place … everything is like a dream. I know what I’m doing and what I’m supposed to be doing but so much of it feels like I’m sleepwalking.

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Traveling across America in 2008 was amazing, I remembered why I’ve done it so many times in the past. With Orion in tow it was even more fun. We surfed down sanddunes on our bellies under a full moon, we rafted down raging rivers in Colorado and climbed the huge alien like rock formations at Joshua tree for hours on end, even at night. I saw a lot of beauty that I didn’t know existed in the US. Huge windfarms with the dancing blades of 200 foot high towers as far as the eye could see. The hoodoos of Bryce were the most amazing and beautiful rock formations I had ever seen in my life. It was fantastic wandering into Bryce canyon with no idea what to expect only to be amazed beyond belief. The hike up to Angel’s Landing at Zion was breathtaking and frightening at the same time. It was amazing to watch Orion carefully and successfully navigate it with me nervously holding onto a rope tied around his waist. I knew if I fell I’d have to let go quickly and if Orion fell I’d have to hold on for dear life. Orion was amazing and added so much to the adventure for me. To watch him grow and learn was the greatest reward of all. He was very interested in the Jr. Ranger programs, which added so much to the trip for him he achieved at least 8 Jr. Ranger badges! I flew my sister in from Oregon to Las Vegas to camp with us for a week of our journey and it was so special to be with her. I can’t imagine the trip without her, she was so amazing with Orion and they have such a nice relationship even though she lives thousands of miles away.

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