We've been blessed recently with a deluge of media coverage, and it's been fun to tell our story and answer some interesting questions. In one such instance, I was asked to provide pictures from my childhood that exemplified my "early sense of adventure." Naturally, I asked my mom for help and, naturally, she had a pile of photos filling up my inbox in no time. She sent pictures of me playing soccer with my third grade class; and my dad, brother, and I climbing mountains. She even had one of she and I leaning into the curves of a go-cart track. But my most prominent memories are of adventures I had with my big sister, Connie. Where are those pictures?
That's the trouble with imagination, you see. The trouble and the beauty. Connie and I solved mysteries, played baseball, and ran for our lives from lions, dinosaurs, and indians. Year round in that temperamental Carolina weather. We hosted a farm in our backyard, with horses and chickens and a hundred rabbits. Our parents' house was a castle one day and a secret lab the next.
Sure, we had "real" adventures, with the help of our family. We traveled all over on vacations, we played sports, went to concerts. And it all ended itself to my wanderlust, my hunger to take on the world, and my belief that it was possible. But at the end of the day, it was those games of imagination with my sister, who is also wheelchair-bound, that affirmed my sense of adventure.
When we weren't playing make believe (complete with costumes, courtesy of our amazing brother), we were reading to each other. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy; Barrie's Peter Pan and Wendy; Goldman's Princess Bride (or is it Morgenstern's). Together, we delved deep into these worlds and countless others of our own fashioning. And what do we have to show for it? Photos of two happy, feeble kids in costumes, sitting or semi-standing with no real action implied. Those are around and cherished by our dear mother in photo albums galore. But what else? What do we have to show for those endless, wild hours inside our own heads. We have memories to shape ourselves, stories to shape the world, and a unique understanding of what adventure really looks like.