Family of Three
With one small, 7 lb 12 oz addition to the Parsons family, many things have been inadvertently swept off the table, or have just plane fallen off (this blog obviously being one of them). Rowen Curtis Parsons bounded into this world on a fall afternoon in Kalispell Regional on October 22, 2015 after putting his mother through a mere 30 hours of labor and 10 months of having to keep up with me while sustaining a small bean growing inside. I have truly wanted to document every bit of this process with blogging, journaling, and photos, but it is such an overwhelming adjustment that pretty much 556 photos on my convenient i-phone are all I’ve succeeded at. I’m sure my story echoes that of the hundreds of friends and family that have made the journey into parenthood; the unbelievable miracle that is childbirth, the blur that is the first two weeks of trying to learn how to care for an infant while constantly wondering “Is he still alive?” when he goes without crying for more than an hour, the dreaded nights and days flip-flopped where sleep is really just a dream the parents once experienced. Those that haven’t made the journey aren’t particularly interested in the play by play as well, so with that in mind, I’ll forgo a detailed recount of the highs and lows and instead consider a few of the “Aha!” moments I’ve experienced in my first 4.5 months of being a dad as well as some of the other adventures I’ve had along the way.
-This pretty much sums up surviving the first couple months- Sleep when he slept… Linus’s favorite two months ever, lots of bed snuggles
I truly think it was divine intervention that Jen became pregnant with Rowen when she did. Hot summer days were made all the more uncomfortable with the burden of extra weight and a crazy package of hormones to boot, but we were able to continue to enjoy bike rides (until the final month) and hikes right up until the beautiful fall days waned and gave way to the gloomy, windy, and wet days that give way to most Montanan’s favorite season, winter. I’ve blogged about it before, but fall is always the most difficult season for me for a number of reasons. The anticipation of Rowen no longer just hitchhiking along in a cozy round womb but being a real, smiling, soft, kicking and screaming boy in my arms abolished any seasonal affect disorder. When he was born, I was at Jen’s side, helping her through the labor with the most amazing team of nurses and Doctors, and Rowen came out crying and pink as a panther. I was moved beyond my greatest imagination and was in tears at what a miracle it was that Jen was able to birth this little boy and that he came into the world ready to live. In turn, everybody else cried- pretty surprising effect! As a soon to be parent, your head is constantly filled with doubt of whether your child will be healthy and whether the birth will be safe. When it happens as it should, one can’t help but be thankful and be floored by what a miracle it all is.
That all passed quickly and within weeks I forgot about it and evolved into a survival mode of balancing getting back to work (especially in a job that is wrought with sleep deprivation), attempting to train for the upcoming Ski Mountaineering season, and not wanting to miss a moment of discovery in little Rowen’s world.
-Rowen’s first day of telemark skiing in powder early December at Blacktail. Four months later I’m still dealing with debilitating back problems from spending too many hours carrying him on the front carrier. Amazing that 8 pounds can cause mess a guy up so long!
Up until the day Rowen was born, I really questioned whether it was truly a good idea for Jen and me to give up our cruisey life-style with flexible work schedules, good income with what little expenses we had, and three to four days a week of getting to adventure together. We had it pretty dang good and I wasn’t sure the sacrifice would pay off. I was proven wrong the moment Rowen was born. When he entered the world, I fell in love with him. He did nothing to earn it, in fact he constantly challenges it, but what everybody says is true, and it’s a beautiful thing. The little ones steal your love before you even have a chance to ponder it. It’s awesome and I’m grateful for it. It doesn’t feel like such a sacrifice to loose nights out with friends, days of deep pow in the backcountry, sleeping in, choosing what you want to do, when you want to do it, and flushing a metal lever as opposed to gagging over a pea green explosion that worked its way through an entire outfit.
And thanks to Jen being the best wife a guy like me could ever luck into, I can’t say I’ve had to give up all the things I love. I may not have as much time for skiing, cycling, writing, reading, hanging with friends, or traveling, but the time I’ve lost is replaced by something exponentially more fulfilling. Watching Rowen grow and change every day is the coolest damn thing in the world! And figuring out how to do it all with an awesome partner certainly makes life as rich as I’ve ever experienced.
What’s crazy is that winter has all ready come and is on it’s way out. The trails of Lone Pine are dry once again, and it feels like just yesterday Jen and I were on our first adventure as a family walking up Lone Pine with Rowen 7 days after he was born. It’s been one for the memory books between watching Rowen change and become a happy boy fighting through months of colic, stepping onto various levels of the Skimo podium with a baby in hand, an 8th place at the U.S. Ski Mountaineering National Championship in Crested Butte, Colorado, and a few good adventures in the b.c. with Jen thanks to amazing friends and family willing to look after and love on the little guy.
-Thanks Grandma West for watching Rowie! And thanks Claire, Katie & Brandon, Burket, Josie, Dad, Melissa, Aunt Liza, Quincy & Joel, and all you others that have helped us and supported us in growing into our new role. Hopefully Rowen can repay you in diapers of Gold!!!
Hopefully I haven’t bored you too immensely in the details and don’t take it as a sales pitch for having a kid. However, if it’s become the greatest thing in my life, that IS saying something in the positive for it 😉
Here’s a couple parting shots of the fam and our playground. Cheers!
-team MT in CB for Skimo Nats
-Fat Dad’s Club in the MF
-Yawny Santa Baby
-Mom and Dad did the Whiteout, Rowen doesn’t seem impressed
-Best Day in the MF of the season with Puglife and TheRealMikeBestwick