There is a new favorite story in our household. Much like the “feather wand” episode of Bluey, this story is on repeat almost every hour. It’s not the personal triumph of wearing pull ups or graduating into pre-school. No sir. It’s that time I ate bear poop.
Let me give you a little context on this fecal spectacular. I was hiking with our son and some friends who had their four-year-old with them. While on the trail in the White Mountains, I stayed back and found the exciting excrement from a black bear on the side of the trail. By that I mean I chewed up a Tootsie Roll and placed it over the wrapper, placed it on the trail and yelled in excitement.
The two ran towards me with excitement. The crouched down to examine it with me. I proceeded to show them the texture, how it is still wet which means its fresh. When one of the little explores asked how I knew it was of a black bear, I showed them features followed by taking a bite out of it. While chewing curiously, I explained how typically these bear eat berries and it tends to be sweeter in taste. They were equal parts stoked and sick to their stomachs. To where I lost my composure and began telling them what it really was.
For the remainder of the trip, I was called out for eating poop and for telling lies. Ever since, I’ve almost had daily tellings of the story. Grandma knows now, the high schooler with super-fast bagging skills at Giant Eagle knows and now you do too. I ate bear poop, and I liked it.
In my past life I was a tripping guide in Maine and New Hampshire. For months, I led age-appropriate hikes through trails and on mountains for kids ages 8-15. I learned some fun games and pranks to pull on kids along the way. This particular prank I waited years to pull on my own son, and I seized that opportunity.
This was something I’ve always wanted to do and had the opportunity to make a memory with more than just my own son. We’ll cherish this for years to come. I’m willing to bet the other half of the Tootsie Roll that it will be brought up on our next hike, and I totally welcome it.
While recently a presenter at the HomeDadCon in Phoenix, put on by the National At Home Dad Network, I had the opportunity to learn from men who care for their families full time. I heard countless stories of memories these men have made with their children during even the most simple of daily tasks. One man shared a story that struck me hard. Because of physical challenges he’s unable to help his child overcome challenges with sports, especially when he sees how awful his son is at it. After hearing his story and wiping countless tears from my face, all I could think about were all the times I put off or denied an opportunity with my son that I’m completely capable of doing. There’s no reason not to jump all in!
As I am retold the story of how I ate bear poop on our vacation, I think of it as the building block of how moving forward as a dad and husband I will not put off making another memory because “I’m not able to right now” or because “it’s too hot to go outside and play baseball.” If I’m capable, I’m going to make our own fun and do what Robin Williams suggested “Carpe Diem,” seize the bear crap.
-Matt Lofy, regular contributor
CBUS Dads is a community of central Ohio area dads balancing an active lifestyle with being an involved parent. A Saturday for us may involve enjoying morning t-ball, lunch at a new local spot and an evening at a summer festival with our families. We may live downtown, in the suburbs or somewhere between, but our common thread is that we continue to experience the community we love - now as parents.