Archive for December, 2013

The Secret Life of Doug White

Posted by Doug White under Personal

I watched a good, sweet and sentimental movie today called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Without giving away too much, the movie centered on a man named Walter Mitty who spent a lot of his life daydreaming about adventures and what happens when he stopped daydreaming and started living his life for real.

I went with my oldest daughter – who is sixteen going on twenty – and a young lady who has been a part of the family for years now.  The two of them were absolutely enthralled with the show and talked about what the show made them feel.  The urge to travel and explore the world and make sure they aren’t missing out on life was a common thread of the conversation home.

I get that.  When I was around their age, I couldn’t wait until I had left the nest and explore the world and find my place in it.  I joined the Marine Corps and every chance I could, I travelled.

I took a trip with a girlfriend of mine to Washington D.C. to visit my best friend.  We spent a day wandering the city that I remember with great fondness.  I travelled to Middletown, New York with my closest friend in the Marines so we could visit his friends and the place he grew up.

In my last year in the Corps I was ordered to go to Okinawa, Japan.  I actually didn’t want to go at first.  It was too far from everything I knew.  It turned out to be one of the best years I spent in the Marine Corps.  I met several great people and I saw a country that was small and yet filled with such intense beauty.  It is a year that will stay with me until the day I die.

When I got out of the Marine Corps, I went home to Rapid City, South Dakota and started college.  I took time again to travel once more – this time to Bismarck, North Dakota.  I had a pen pal while I was in the Marines and I travelled to see her and her friends.  It was a lot of fun and I met some really neat people, who I never saw again.  But the memory of it still makes me smile.

I then met my wife to be that fall and within the year we were married.  From there, I have stayed within six hours of my home town.  Some might say that once I married, the adventure of my youth was over.  I would heartily disagree.  The adventure took on a whole other dimension.

I watched the most beautiful woman willingly decide to walk down an aisle and willingly decide to spend the rest of her life with a guy like me.  I watched the most beautiful woman in the world give birth to the two most beautiful babies God ever put on this earth.  I watched my oldest daughter warm up a room with her smile and her laugh opened up a whole world of possibilities of joy into my life.  I watched my youngest barrel into a room with a sense of humor that made me realize that if she only knew how funny she was, the world would be in for a ride like nothing anyone has seen.

I watched my oldest rush off to her first day of kindergarten without so much of a glance back to her mom and dad.  I remember going for a walk at that lunch that day wondering at what point did that little five year old ball of energy get her hooks so deeply into my heart.

Every night when my youngest was young, I watched as she would crawl into my chair and sit with me and only then would she go to sleep.  I would kiss her on the forehead and again wonder how it is that I could love another person so deeply as I loved her, her sister and her mother.

I watched as my girls wanted me in everything they were a part of.  Christmas concerts, school plays, basketball games, movies, trips to the pool.  I watched as they grew and realized that they didn’t need their dad so much.  And while that sometimes is tough to take, I realize that too is part of this adventure I’m on.

Because while they both are trying to be independent and grown up, there are still days where my youngest will come to me and ask me to pray with her because something is bothering her or she can’t sleep or whatever.  And every once in a while my oldest will surprise me like when she sits down beside me on a couch to watch a show and leans her head on my shoulder.  They’re small moments of affection that I will always cherish.

To these two and to the girl I like to call our “college transplant”, this may seem boring.  This may not seem like an adventure to them at all.  To me it is everything.

I’m watching one lady – who while she isn’t technically ours, really is – blossom from a young girl who had a hard time interacting with others into someone who is an extremely self-sufficient young woman who I have no doubt will move onto great things.

I’m watching a child who has spent sixteen years of her life in a state of perpetual motion finding her focus.  Her love of music is something that pours out of her soul.  And when I watch her deep in the midst of that love, it is something that makes me almost numb with awe.

I’m watching another child who takes on the academic world with a fierce determination that is inspiring of someone so young.  Yet still so shy, she has taken steps to open herself up into new things and open her heart up to those around her.  She’s still so young and her path is undecided but I know it will be filled with lots of wonderful moments and adventures of her own.

I’m watching the woman I love taking these three under her wings, guiding them, nurturing them and every once in awhile smacking them in the head when they take missteps and I’m beyond excited to be on this trip with her.

My adventures in my twenties were exciting and different and wonderful.  As I hit my mid-40’s all I can say is that the adventures of day-to-day life with these people are never boring and never dull.  They are what I live for.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.