Friday, March 17, 2017

Great Wolf Lodge Rope's Course, Dr. Warren's Address, and the Philosophy of the American Dad

(This oddly weird and vaguely racist structure is the main lobby show room at the Great Wolf Lodge in Olympia Washington.)

"Stand! the ground's your own, my braves!
Will ye give it up to slaves?
Will ye look for greener graves?"  

Dr. Joseph Warren was an American physician who played a leading role in the American Patriot movement in Boston at the onset of the American Revolution.  His death at the Battle of Bunker Hill was mourned by so many as if a father had passed.
(You've probably passed by it numerous times on your way to Seattle and never thought to stop in, but it's a pretty cool kid swimming and ropes course amusement park with hotel)

"What's the mercy despots feel?
Hear it in that bristling steel.
As it, -ye who will."  -Warren's Address, by John Pierpont

You know, when you drive around like I do, and you take your kids everywhere, so that they can climb and play and participate in all manner of sports and games and challenge obstacles and learning environments... you end up with a lot of time on your hands to just... think.
(My daughters attacked this intricate billet and rope climbing structure with a massive ferocity.)

"Fear ye foes who kill for hire?
Will ye to your homes retire?
Look Behind you! They're a fire!" -Warren's Address, by John Pierpont

Dads are always "In the Rear with the Gear!"  You're holding the towel bags while the kids swim.  You're shouldering the ice chest and the picnic basket and the extra sweatshirts and the wet laundry bag while everyone else runs to have fun.  You're holding down four or five sets of lawn chairs and keeping the sandals from floating away in the surf and trudging health snacks through parking lots and... yeah, ok.  We get it.  You're the guy standing there while everyone else is having fun.  Mr. Unsung Hero ... Big Deal!
(They bungee jumped... there were so many adults that couldn't do it!)

"And before you, see
Who have done it!" -Warren's Address, by John Pierpont

Walking through the parking lot of the Great Wolf Lodge today I saw all these dads.  Dad with the tripod trying to cram everybody in the picture.  Dad in the minivan trying to stuff an inflatable bunny in the backseat.  Dad with the nacho tray tripping over a beach ball... and not... spilling... a ... drop!  Then there's me... standing at the bottom of the bungee jump cheering, getting scolded by some high schooler with acne for standing in the landing zone, encouraging my kid, four stories up, to just let go and ... jump!
(I was super proud, but not really surprised. It's good to be made of basically.. fearless monkey rubber!)

"From the vale
On they come! And will ye quail?
Leaden rain and iron hail
Let their welcome be!"  -Warren's Address, by John Pierpont

There's a philosophy to being an American dad.  An expectation of tranquility in the eye of chaos.  A sharp, almost Boy Scout approach to preparedness.  The sole purpose of being an American father is to create such thoughtful and responsible and self-reliant little adults that you put yourself out of a job. You become a relic, a museum piece of your child's former life, a dusty old document they can find on the shelf someday and ruminate upon.  That's the reflection.  It's heartbreaking, knowing they will leave... but as you stand there, kid water bottle in your back pocket, spare first-aid kit in the knapsack on the ground, gray in your whiskers... you come to appreciate something more precious than anything in the universe.  You are here.  This came from you.  And at least for today.... there's still time.

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