When Lanna and I decided to, you know, leave society and hermit-ize our life there were many aspects both present and future that we took into account. Our list of pros was drawn up and there were some obvious ones (immediate access to nature) and other not so obvious ones (didn’t even know who won the election till a day later). As any thoughtful and open minded person would do we also jotted down the cons with the obvious (lack of social life) to the surprises (the pipe broke, Home Depot is 25 miles away.) Our biggest struggle in even making the big jump into the Great Unknown was leaving our family and friends.
I know I’ve mused on this before. We had (still have) an awesome neighborhood that we left with some great friends for life. I shared many tools, fires, thoughts, and dreams with a new and now great friend Jesse just two doors down the street. Lanna has a great family that lived close and between kid swaps, sleepovers, birthday parties, holidays, and other gatherings, we had a great thing going with them. The boys have three cousins who were all within a couple years and a few miles of each other. Kai was starting to get into a good group at his kindergarten. The Dueck Social Club was in full force. So…
…why exactly did we leave? Especially for the lonely life in the woods?
Yeah, it seems a little more than crazy. So I’ll give a little look into our thoughts and some history. We did indeed know that while leaving a good social group was a “con” on the list, the opposing “pro” happened to be that our boys are actually really good friends. We had noticed it early on and knew that they did well together at home playing with their toys, make-believe games, swimming in the pool, among other activities. It really came to light when we traveled. We noticed that the boys seemed to click really well on playgrounds, in hotel rooms, and waiting for tables at restaurants. Camping was a shared adventure between the two of them and they were hardly apart from dawn to dusk. Even then, while passed out and drooling they would often manage to flop on top of each other in their king size hotel bed or cozy sleeping bags.
Either this little experiment in the mountains was going to strengthen this bond or shatter it.
Fortunately, it has been the former. Now, before you get all frustrated at me and this seemingly perfect life raising two angels, please note: often the best-est of friends fight the fiercest. There have been a fair share of bloody noses, scratched out eyeballs, screams, nasty names, and many given bumps and bruises. The age difference factors in when we read books at night and when we fire up our school table every morning. They get sick of each other. Aven taunts Kai. Kai steals Aven’s Lego. It’s life with two boys. And ultimately, these two are forming a deep strong bond that will last throughout their lives, even if it ebbs and flows with that brotherly love and hate.
Even after 14 years of life together, Lanna and I have figured out new things about eachother and figured out how to work and live in a smaller space 24/7. Let’s just say that when we load up for a trip down to the Valley, we’re both ready to hang out with some other faces for a bit. But we’ve figured some things out: afternoons alone are a good thing once a week; sometimes a long walk after dinner is even better for a mental state than a physical one; and date nights are far more special when they only happen every couple months.
And let’s be honest: this is a season. We chose to swing the pendulum way over from the busy, high-stress suburban Dueck family life to the slower, no-stress hermit family life. It’s not forever. In fact, we often talk about how our future home/life will pull into a balance and take away some of the things we miss from that former life and some things we enjoy from this life. For now, this still feels good. We’re seeing some really good fruit in the relationship with our boys, we’ve noticed deeper and more focused relationships with our friends and family that we only see every few weeks or months. It’s amazing how giving yourself a bit of space can pull even the best relationships into a good perspective. It’s why we slowed down; so we could continue the good life.