First comes marriage. Then comes the baby.
Except when there’s a list.
When on our honeymoon my husband presented me his baby bucket list, part of me thought he was stalling. And a part of me worried I’d declared vows to a man who didn’t want children. It was a long list. Filled with hope in one hand and a passport in the other we set off:
To brave riots and see:
1. The great pyramids.
2. Eat at the best restaurant in the world
3. Chase Northern Lights
4. See lions in Africa
5. See the Grand Canyon
6. See the Chitchen Itza
7. To live on the other side of the world.
The list also housed things we wanted to learn to do:
8. Surf in Baja
9. Dance properly in our kitchen
10. Ski over an international border.
At the end it housed things I lobbied for before two became three
11.To perfect a signature dish
12. Take a carriage ride through Central Park
13. And maybe, just maybe cage dive with sharks.
Through the adventures I’m learning the list isn’t just about places, sights or things. It’s about the lessons we needed to learn along the way.
It’s about knowing you can still love your partner after 2 hours sleep in 48, when you’re both racked with Montezuma’s revenge. It’s about being able to laugh when they bring the wrong passport to the airport (that was me).
It’s discovering how one person needs to hold the other while the other dips, the strength you need to carry your own gear- and build your own family.
The list has haunted us for three years- a glorious millstone in our marriage. It’s near the end that I discovered who the list really is for.
Years before my husband had heard his parents lament the things they wished they’d done before they had him. So when his mum died too young she’d never explored all the streets of Paris or seen the sunsets of Santorini.
I’ve realised the list isn’t for us- it was for our unborn kids. So they never feel the guilt he did of robbing his parents of a chance to live large, and of embedding in our life a sense that you really do have to live every day like it might be your last.
But more than anything, the list is training for a new kind of awe.
We may have seen a lot of the world, but we know that before we have kids; we haven’t seen anything yet.
Victoria (Tori) Haschka is a Sydney born food travel writer. Her blog follows her efforts in feeding The Hungry One (the husband) and their quest to find the best places to eat, drink and be merry.
What do you want to do before you have children or what do you wish you had done?